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  • Air Vents and Steam System Corrosion

    ... It’s a persistent, gnawing force that weakens joints and allows water hammer to tear pipes from fittings. It’s the primary cause of unit heater and radiator failure.And it’s as natural to steam systems as boiling water.The main cause of condensate grooving is carbon dioxide. It’s a simple p...

  • Utica Radiator Corporation, 1963 pdf

    This 1963 booklet from Utica Radiator Corporation contains information about Utica's Donobilt gas and oil boilers, Utica Series 8 boilers, Utica Starfire boilers, Utica Constellation boilers, Utica Hi and Lo baseboard heating panels, Utica radiant cast-iron radiators, as well as ratings. 

  • Burnham America Catalog (1980s) pdf

    ... 1980s featuring boilers for steam and hot-water heating systems, as well as Burnham Base-Ray cast-iron baseboard, the Duo-Rad fan coil heating unit, and radiator ratings.Series 22A Series 4 Series 5 Series 8-B Series 2 Freedom 62 Fiesta II V1 Series V3 Series PF-3 Series PF-5 Series Care-Free Elect...

  • The Subtlety of Steam Heating

    ... 212°.And that pound of steam is now 1,700 times larger than it was when it was liquid water. That’s what makes it move out of the boiler and head for the radiators.But is this good steam? Is it the sort that will do a good job of heating the radiators and making the people smile? Is it dry steam...

  • Radiators and Pandemics: A Curious Marriage Video

     This video is a recording of Dan Holohan's popular seminar Radiators and Pandemics: A Curious Marriage. It was hosted by The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen on March 2, 2021. When Dan Holohan was researching his book, The Lost Art of Steam Heating, in the late-1980s, he came upon a re...

  • NIRA Window Seat Radiator 1916 pdf

    This excerpt about the NIRA Window Seat Radiator for Steam and Hot Water Heating is from Facts for Fitters, a 1916 catalog from The Hunting Co.Thank you to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey of All Steamed Up for sharing this document with us....

  • Arco Window Radiators circa 1922 pdf

    Here is an excerpt from the 1920 and 1922 Ideal Fitter books from American Radiator Company about their Arco Window Radiators.Thank you to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey of All Steamed Up for sharing this document with us....

  • J.J. Wilson Fitting for Steam Radiators 1909 pdf

    This is the patent for J.J. Wilson's Fitting for Steam Radiators from September 14, 1909.

  • How vacuum can cause steam problems

    ... coal, vacuum was just about everyone’s friend. That slow and steady coal fire produced a steam that gently nudged the air from the system.Back then, the radiator air vents probably had tiny check valves in their outlets. Those checks would let the air out, but they wouldn’t let it back in. When...

  • Sustainable Steam Heating

    ... obscures the fact that the best heat transfer media is steam, not water. 1 pound of condensed steam carries more heat than 25 pounds of hot water cooled in radiators by 40oF, no pumping is required. Additionally, in tall buildings every 20th floor of precious space is lost for hot water pumps, whic...

  • Things You Should Know About Steam Traps

    ... Lower the steam pressure to get rid of the flash steam. Most steam heating systems are running at pressures that are too high anyways, so try lowering it.Radiator traps last about 10 yearsIn a typical year, a radiator trap will cycle about 175,000 times. That’s why, after about 10 years, they’r...

  • How to Set a Pressuretrol

    ... and ceilings. So to figure the correct pressuretrol cut-in setting, we’ll use an old-timer’s trick.Measure the run from the boiler to the furthest radiator and double it. Base your pressure drop on that corrected “equivalent” figure. Hey, it worked for the old-timers and it will work for yo...

  • The Fascinating History of Radiant Heating Video

    ... Adlam, how radiant heating works, Thomas Engel and the invention of PEX piping, the first time hydronic radiant heating was used in a stadium, unique radiator design, the birth of Levittown, Levitt homes and their radiant heating systems, York Shipley low-York boilers, General Electric boilers, the...

  • Two-Pipe Hot Water Heating Systems Video

    ... two-pipe hot water heating systems. He talks about the advantages of two-pipe systems, direct return, reverse return, direct return with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), differential pressure regulators, hydronic heating flow rates, tips on sizing circulators for existing jobs, and more. Want t...

  • Loop Hot Water Heating Systems Video

    ... in hot water heating. A loop system is the simplest method of heating with hot water. Each zone consists of a single loop made up of the pipe and the radiators. The water flows out of one radiator into the next. Most people use fin-tube baseboard for loop systems. In fact, it was this type of radia...

  • Pumping Away on a One-Boiler Hot Water Heating System Video

    ... on a one-boiler hot-water heating system. He’ll walk you through a diagram and explain how Pumping Away will help you stop air from getting into your radiators.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holohan’s book Classic Hydronics: How to Get the Most From Those Older Hot-Water Heating Systems....

  • One-Pipe Hot-Water Heating Systems Video

     Dan Holohan shares his knowledge about one-pipe hot-water heating systems. He talks about diverter tees, monoflo tees, thermostatic radiator valves, pumping away from the boiler, and more.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holohan’s book Classic Hydronics: How to Get the Most From Those Older Hot-Wat...

  • Honeywell’s Unique Valve Video

     Mark Honeywell invented the Unique Valve in the early 1900s. It gave him a way of connecting a hot-water radiator at just one side instead of two sides. The Unique valve opened with a quarter turn and used a baffle to direct the water into the radiator. The cooler water flowed by the hot water and...

  • Mark Honeywell’s Solution to Stratification in Gravity Systems Video

    ... unusual fitting. The water inside the horizontal main has to be hot all the way to the bottom before it can slip under that metal wall and flow up to the radiator. This meant that all the radiators along a horizontal main would get hot water at about the same time, which helped balance the system....

  • Thin-Tube and Column Radiators Video

     Dan Holohan talks about the differences between thin-tube radiators and column radiators for heating systems. He also shares some troubleshooting tips and advice on air-vent placement.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holohan’s book The Lost Art of Steam Heating Revisited....

  • E.D.R. Explained Video

     E.D.R. (Equivalent Direct Radiation) is the term that we use to measure modern radiators and older steam radiators. In this video, Dan Holohan tells us about E.D.R. and includes some key takeaways for understanding steam heating systems. He also shares the story of The Carbon Club and how boiler m...

  • Radiator Controls Video

     In this video excerpt from the Dead Men’s Steam School seminar, Dan Holohan shares his knowledge about radiator controls. He talks about thermostatic radiator valves, pneumatic valves, and more.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holohan’s book The Lost Art of Steam Heating Revisited....

  • Radiators Overheating? Here’s How To Cut Radiator Heat Output Video

    ... You can see it in the engineering books published after 1920. The authors wrote of the Fresh Air Movement and cautioned engineers to specify boilers and radiators that will be large enough to heat the building on the coldest day of the year, with the windows open.In this excerpt from Dan Holohan’...

  • A Circular Radiator Video

     Circular radiators date back to the early 1900s. They were assembled as one whole radiator or as halves for the purpose of encircling columns. When they were in halves, each half became an independent radiator. In this video, Dan Holohan tells us about a circular radiator that was still in operati...

  • Indirect Heating Systems Video

    ... us about indirect heating. It is a method of heating that the old-timers used to warm fresh air before it entered a building. They placed the indirect radiators outside the room they were heating (that’s where the name “indirect” comes from). They used ductwork to direct the fresh outside air...

  • Steam Boiler Ratings Explained Video

    ... Heating Capacity (Gross), and Net. Dan walks you through each of these to help you with steam-boiler replacements. He also provides tips on what to do if a radiator has been removed from the system but the piping is still there.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holohan’s book The Lost Art of Steam He...

  • Why Many Old Steam-Heating Systems Are Oversized Video

    ... You can see it in the engineering books published after 1920. The authors wrote of the Fresh Air Movement and cautioned engineers to specify boilers and radiators that will be large enough to heat the building on the coldest day of the year, with the windows open.Want to learn more? Read Dan Holoha...

  • Steven Gold's Mattress Radiator Video

     Dan Holohan shares his knowledge about the first safe and successful steam radiator for house heating. Steven Gold patented his "mattress" radiator on October 3, 1854. It was comprised of two thin plates of sheet iron fastened together in many places by rivets. He rolled the edges together around...

  • Spitting or Hissing Air Vents

    ... vents. There are no main vents on the system. The key to balancing a one-pipe steam system is to vent the air from the mains quickly, and the air from the radiators in proportion to the size of each radiator. If the system has no main vents, the radiator vents have to do two jobs. They'll have to...

  • Air Vents and Oversized Radiators

    ... Frank Taverna (who happens to be one hell of a good heating man) and I looked at a steam problem in a small church in New York City. Five one-pipe steam radiators heated this church. These were huge radiators. Each put out 110 square feet EDR and each had a quick vent.Beneath each radiator vent was...

  • Eureka: An Early Diverter Tee Video

    ... early version of what we now call the diverter tee. It worked by creating a drop in pressure along its run, which encouraged the water to flow into the radiator. Here's a picture of one found on a job. The contractor who sent this kept his hands in his pockets until he learned what it was. Smart ma...

  • Radiator Covers

    Should you box in those radiators?Let’s take a look at radiator enclosures. Some people use them because they think old radiators are ugly (I sure don’t). Others use them to protect children from burns (I recall touching a red-hot steam radiator when I was a kid growing up in New York City, but...

  • Why Steam Vents Die

    ... steam system is an open system. Water expands 1,700 times when it changes to steam, and that shoves the air out. Steam condenses inside the pipes and radiators and shrinks to 1,700th its volume, and that brings the air back. Steam systems breathe – just as we do.You already know that where there...

  • ARCO Cast Iron Radiators (1959) pdf

    ARCO cast iron radiators literature and ratings from 1959American Standard Hot Water and Steam Heat

  • G. M. Davis Air Valve - Patented 1889 pdf

    On June 11, 1889, the G.M. Davis Regulator Company of Chicago, Illinois patented the Victor No. 2, an automatic air vent for steam radiators. It worked by the expansion of a composition element. It would be years before the industry produced a truly reliable air vent that didn't squirt water all ove...

  • Clogston Steam Boiler and Radiator Patent

  • Ratings for Radiators with Corrugated, Ringed, and Plain Surfaces pdf

    ... Surfaces and Different Materials (Wrought-Iron, Cast-Iron, Steel, and Brass Pipes. Corrugated, Ringed, and Plain Surfaces). This includes ratings for radiators from the 1800s including the Clogston, Walworth, Union, Triumph, Peirce Excelsior, Gold's Pin Indirect Radiator, Howard Oxbow Radiator, amo...

  • Troubleshooting Steam Heating Systems

    ... steam, has a saying, "The problem and the solution are rarely in the same room with steam." That holds true I have found. I was called to diagnose a steam radiator which stopped heating. By the time I arrived, they had replaced the steam trap twice, and the steam shutoff valve once and still had a...

  • How to Feed a Low-Pressure Steam Boiler

    ... could cause the feeders to stay open when they were supposed to be closed, and that would fill the systems with water that would overflow through the radiator air vents. Not good.So we preached cold-water feed to all the contractors, who looked at us like we were out of our minds. How could we tell...

  • Avoiding Scale in Heating Systems

    ... that means less scale. Now go amaze your customer with your street smarts. Sludge Sludge is the softer version of scale and it will often wind up in your radiators if the hardness in the water gets a chance to react with any phosphate or alkaline treatments someone may have added. Sludge looks and...

  • Where to Find Used Radiators

    Here are some places to find used and refurbished radiators in the United States and Canada. UNITED STATES  ColoradoTons of Radiators - Stroman Plumbing and Heating, Inc. 2596 S. Lansing Way, Aurora, CO 80014303-369-9737 ConnecticutEcorad60 Belamose Ave., Rocky Hill, CT 06067855-632-6723 Illino...

  • Monitor Bi-Loop Hot Water Radiators

    Monitor Bi-Loop Hot Water Radiators are partly filled with water which is heated by steam within the radiator, thereby eliminating the large volume of water to be circulated in the direct hot water system, and eliminating 95% of the air that is found in a steam or vapor radiator. They are constructe...

  • 3-D Printing Hoffman #7 Steam Radiator Valve Handles Video

     Hoffman has not made this steam radiator valve since the 1930s. 3-D printing is used to create this otherwise obsolete part.Many thanks to Gordon Schweizer of All Steamed Up, Inc. for sharing his knowledge and this video. You can subscribe to Gordon's YouTube channel here. ...

  • Three Hydronic Radiant Heating Myths

    ... Nixon shortly after John Dean did.”I usually hear these claims coming from people who are in the business of selling either scorched air systems or radiators. People who sell radiators often consider people who sell radiant heat to be their competitors. One fellow from Europe recently told me tha...

  • Steam Trap Rules

    ... clothes much faster if the temperature of the iron is, say, 338 degrees F. than it can if they set it at 215 degrees F, which is what we’d see in a radiator. That higher temperature of the iron would be from the steam at 100-psig, and this is why dry cleaners use high-pressure steam boilers and n...

  • No. 540 Heat Losses From Direct Radiation pdf

    ... is the intention of this article to bring together these various results in an endeavor to show the effect which the changes in the shape and size of a radiator, together with the conditions of operation, have upon the heat transmission. This article also discusses the theory of heat transfer from...

  • Commercial Steam Boiler Replacement

    ... apartment building was converted to a co-op in the 1950s.The seven-story building is heated by a one-pipe steam system connected to column-style cast iron radiators. The original coal red boiler is still in place, as the building was built around the boiler. It has long been disconnected. When we s...

  • Commercial Steam Heating

    ... redundancy. As a contractor, it is your responsibility to install a boiler with the appropriate safety controls.Vents and trapsWe replace all main vents, radiator vents, F&T traps and steam traps on our replacement jobs. In most cases, these are decades old. In some cases, they are the original...

  • Infrared Video of a Single-Pipe Steam Radiator Heating Up Video

    ... Schweizer of All Steamed Up, Inc. for sharing his knowledge and this video. You can subscribe to Gordon's YouTube channel here. He says:Old cast-iron radiators came in two basic types: 1) Those that could be used for either hot-water heating or steam of all types, and 2) Those that could be used...

  • Rebuilding a Trane B-1 Steam Radiator Trap With A Barnes & Jones Cage Unit Video

    ... his knowledge and this video. You can subscribe to Gordon's YouTube channel here. He says:Showing the process of rebuilding a Trane B-1 thermostatic radiator trap with integral seat and removable bellows from the 1920s.Note: I made an error in calling out the B & J cage number needed for this...

  • Steam heating system renovation

    ... steam heating contractors who have installed a completely new steam heating system is not long. By complete, I mean boiler, piping, risers, valves and radiators.We did this as part of a historic renovation in a home in Leesburg, Va., about 12 years ago. The 100-year-old home originally had steam he...

  • Where is the water line?

    ... in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Avondale Apartment Building was built in 1914, and has a one-pipe steam system with cast iron radiators. It features a Mills Systems piping arrangement. Two large mains are piped directly to the attic, one for each wing of the building. The...

  • The Main Things That Go Wrong With Boiler Water

    ... liquid water. That’s what’s best for the steam heating. More liquid than that will probably cause much of the steam to condense before it reaches the radiators. The steam gives up its latent heat energy to the liquid that it’s carrying along with it, and winds up carrying fewer Btus to the ra...

  • Steam Boiler Rescue

    ... a one-pipe steam system powered by a 30 year old Burnham Series 4 gas fired steam boiler. We have re-piped the header, installed main vents, replaced radiator vents, and kept his boiler functioning over the 10 years we have worked on it. We talk about business, politics, music and our shared experi...

  • Troubleshooting a Hutchison Vapor Heating System

    ... a two-pipe steam system that was designed to operate at very low operating pressure, ounces of pressure rather than pounds. There were no traps on the radiator outlets (see photo 2). Steam was kept out of the dry returns by a combination of graduated inlet valves (see photo 3) that would only allow...

  • The return pipe that was a supply

    ... there were no complaints or service problems. This fall, going into the second winter, the client called to complain that the main floor and second floor radiators were hot and that the space temperature was overshooting the setpoint. The basement is on a separate zone, independent of the top two f...

  • Troubleshooting air and compression tanks

    ... and you don’t need two pipes to make this happen. One will do. The rising and falling waters pass each other within that single pipe.When you vent a radiator the system pressure drops.  The feed valve adds cold water, which enters the tank. This problem inspired Amtrol to come up with the diaphr...

  • Vacuum Pumps and Common Sense

    ... these things for a big heating system:   They can get the air out of the system very quickly. They can get the steam from the boiler to the furthest radiators even quicker. They solve a lot of the steam distribution problems and heat the building more evenly. They let the designer use smaller pipe...

  • Reflective insulation behind steam radiators

    You'll sometimes see a thin, reflective insulation barrier between a radiator and the outside wall of a building. The Dead Men installed these to reflect the radiators' radiant heat into the room. Typically, a freestanding cast-iron radiator gives off about 40% of its heat by radiation and 60% of it...

  • Watch an infrared film of a steam radiator getting hot Video

    Reinvent is the nickname of one of the members of The Wall. This is a time-lapse film that shows how steam is lighter than air and will go to the top of the radiator first. The Wall thread is here. ...

  • Do I need to flush an old radiator from time to time?

    No. Hot water radiators operate within a “closed” system where there’s little or no corrosion taking place. Flushing these radiators will only cause you to add more water to the system, which will create more corrosion, and so on, and on. Why cause problems? Steam systems are open to the atmos...

  • Where does the air vent belong on a hot water radiator?

    Each hot water radiator should have an air vent at the top, on the side opposite the inlet pipe. You’ll use this vent to “bleed” air from the radiator when you’re first starting the system.

  • Where does the air vent belong on a cast-iron steam radiator?

    If it’s a one-pipe steam radiator, the vent belongs on the side of the radiator that’s opposite the pipe. Because the lighter-than-air steam will head first for the top of the radiator, you should install the air vent about halfway down the radiator, and not at the top. Two-pipe steam systems (w...

  • Does a two-pipe steam radiator have to have a steam trap?

    ... does it do? What the heck happens if I take it out? If you can’t answer those questions, put your hands in your pockets, and back slowly away from that radiator.

  • What’s the difference between a steam and a hot water radiator?

    It’s the way the radiator sections go together. They may be nippled together at both the top and bottom, or just at the bottom. Older steam radiators have nipples across just the bottom portion of the sections. This is because steam is lighter than air. When the steam enters the bottom of a radiat...

  • The best place to install a cast-iron radiator

    Q: If I decide to move a cast-iron radiator, where should I reinstall it? A: Ideally, a cast-iron radiator should be under the window (that’s where the greatest heat loss is), and it should be as wide as the window. Its top should never peek above the windowsill because this lessens the convective...

  • What’s the best way to disconnect, move, and reconnect radiators for floor repairs?

    ... A hand truck with a few strategically placed blocks of wood will help you move the old beast out of the way. And if you’re planning to take that old radiator down a flight of stairs proceed cautiously, and with plenty of help because an antique radiator can weigh hundreds of pounds.

  • Can I successfully cut down the size of an antique cast-iron radiator?

    Maybe. It all depends on how the long-gone manufacturer assembled the radiator. A cast-iron radiator goes together in sections, like a loaf of sliced bread. Each section attaches to the next with round metal fittings called nipples. Nipples looks like very short pieces of pipe, which may or may not...

  • PEX for Hydronic Distribution Piping

    ... linked to hydronic systems. After all, PEX and hydronics do go hand-in-hand quite nicely and already have a well-established history together. Baseboard radiators, VAV (variable air volume) boxes, chilled beams and fan coils units are all common types of hydronic-based heating and cooling systems....

  • Rethinking TRVs for Steam Systems

    ... The Lost Art of Steam Heating. I did okay with that one. People still buy it.            I have a section in there about using thermostatic radiator valves with steam radiators. I'll show you first what I had to say all those years ago, and then I'll share with you what my friend, Paul S...

  • Tips on Steam Heating Systems

    ... and renovating steam systems. Back in 2002, we even installed a complete steam system from scratch, including a new boiler, piping, mains, valves and radiators. Steam systems are unique and can be a challenge to work on. That is why I like them so much. It requires thinking and planning, and mistak...

  • Cast-Iron Radiator Restoration: Removing old pipe nipple to make way for new fittings Video

    Bob "Hot Rod" Rohr of Caleffi shows how to remove an old pipe nipple to make way for new fittings when restoring a radiator.

  • Foaming and Priming in Steam Boilers

    ... to keep the liquid water inside the boiler and send the dry steam into the steam pipes. If your pipes are insulated, more of the steam will reach the radiators and the fuel bills will be lower than they would be if the pipes weren't insulated. Dry steam contains more Btu than wet steam. It's as sim...

  • How to Fix a Leaky Cast-iron Radiator

    ... product to repair a cracked Caterpillar engine block. That sure got my attention! They also said that people have been using J-B Weld to fix old cast-iron radiators. But to do this you first have to be able to drain the radiator and remove any paint, primer, or rust from the surface. After cleaning...

  • Air in a hot-water heating system

    Air is the enemy in a hydronic (hot-water) heating system. It blocks the flow to the radiators. It rattles around and annoys customers. It wastes fuel by making our systems less efficient (no heat from an air-bound radiator). It causes callbacks and it makes us look bad. That’s why every hydronic...

  • How to Size a Boiler-Feed Pump

    ... other variables::  The shape of the building. Tall buildings return condensate faster than wide buildings. The distance from the boiler to the furthest radiator. The longer the distance, the slower the condensate. The pitch of the pipes. If the steam and condensate flow in the same direction, the...

  • Radiator Paint Colors

    Ever wonder why so many of the old radiators you see are painted silver? Back in the day, they were mostly plain grey metal, but then the Spanish Influenza arrived during the winter of 1918-19 and that changed everything. So many people died from this airborne virus that the Board of Health came out...

  • Pumping Away Piping

    ... pressure and move whatever air comes out of the heated water back to the air separator.In most cases, you'll find you don't have to go upstairs to bleed the radiators. You'll be doing it all from the basement - even on diverter-tee systems! The system will run quietly, with no pinging or waterfall...

  • Water quality with high-efficiency boilers

    ... water quality was the cause.Water treatment is especially important when matching a new condensing boiler to old gravity systems with massive cast iron radiators and large steel mains. Iron oxide, sludge, sediment and other dissolved contaminants in the system water come out of solution at the hott...

  • Old Radiator Ratings

    If you're replacing a steam boiler, there's only one right way to size that boiler, and that's to measure the radiators. If you're replacing a hot-water boiler, you'll do a heat-loss calculation on the building as it is today, but it also pays to measure the radiation to see if you can reduce the w...

  • Let's chat about compression tanks

    ... enter the flow of hot water. The cooler water that left the tank will get hot and give up the air it carried from the tank, and that air will wind up in a radiator.             Someone will bleed the radiator; the system pressure will drop. Fresh water will enter the system and go straig...

  • H.B. Smith Boiler and Radiator Catalog, 1929

    Here's a good source for the ratings of old Smith radiators. It starts on page 56. Here's the LINK. 

  • What is a thermostatic radiator valve?

    You can place a thermostatic radiator valve, or TRV, on a radiator within a hot-water or steam heating system. A thermostatic radiator valve enables you to control the temperature of that specific radiator, thus giving you greater control of the temperature and comfort of that room or space. Thermos...

  • A New Look At Vacuum Heating

    ... This is something different. Igor is using small-diameter copper tubing to feed low-temperature steam in a deep vacuum to low-cost, European-style panel radiators in place of the old cast-iron radiators so many tenants don't like to see. Oh, and the condensate is going to return to the boiler throu...

  • How do you paint cast-iron baseboard radiators?

    This past summer, we had Burnham BASE-RAY cast-iron baseboard radiators installed in our home.One of the benefits of BASE-RAY baseboards is that you can paint them to coordinate with your room’s color scheme. This is also one of the drawbacks if you are a homeowner like me who has no idea how to p...

  • Does my boiler need chemicals?

    ... part of the install, it depends on the system. If it’s an old cast-iron or steel system, I’ll treat it. If it’s a newer system with copper fintube radiators I won’t. “I am starting to make the switch to Fernox because their compressed-gas applicator bottles make getting the chemical into...

  • Why steam boilers short-cycle

    ... down like that because that’s what allows the air vents to reopen once they close on steam temperature. You see the steam pressure inside the pipes and radiators blows closed the little floats inside the air vents, and unless that pressure drops, the vents won’t open. And if no venting takes pl...

  • Question Everything When Replacing Commercial Boilers

    ... system issues that will require investigation. If the system is a hydronic system, the system pressure should be about 1 psi per 2 ft height of the tallest radiator. Gas PressureIf the existing boiler has an atmospheric burner, the new boiler may require much higher gas pressure than the old one....

  • Connecting New Boilers to Old Pipes

    ... designing a replacement low pressure steam boiler, it should be sized according to the existing connected load. The connected load includes all piping, radiators, and heat emitters. Unlike the steam boiler replacement, a replacement hydronic boiler system will be sized according to the building hea...

  • Are there hidden problems in your next hydronic boiler project?

    ... designing a replacement low pressure steam boiler, it should be sized according to the existing connected load. The connected load includes all piping, radiators, and heat emitters. Unlike the steam boiler replacement, a replacement hydronic boiler system will be sized according to the building hea...

  • Steam, the original Bad Boy

    ... unrealistic to do so. In many instances, conversion of the system from steam could require replacement of the entire system including piping, boilers, and radiators. If the client cannot afford replacement, the next option would be to optimize the existing system. One of the common misconceptions w...

  • Boiler Choices

    ... will typically state that the boiler will reach those unbelievable efficiencies with 60 degree water. Well, if you have a building filled with cast iron radiators, 600F supply water will not raise the building temperature one degree on a 10 degree day.In older applications, the original designer ty...

  • Steam radiators make a popping noise. What to do?

    A visitor to the Wall asks, "I'm getting expansion noises from a cast-iron radiator and trying to figure out where it coming from." "Maybe the pipe that comes through the floor is hitting wood? Or could it be coming from parts of the radiators? It's not terrible we're light sleepers and when the hea...

  • Hybrid cast iron radiator on steam mini-tube Video

    Gerry Gill is brilliant when it comes to solving steam- and hot-water-heating problems. Learn more about him HERE.

  • Steam unit heaters can present a challenge

    ... place in the 1930s and heated it with steam. It's always been a commercial building - part office, part factory. They heat the offices with one-pipe steam radiators and the factory with steam unit heaters nowadays. A fellow who's been there for years remembers when they used to heat the factory wit...

  • The O-S Fitting

    ... own any of these artifacts. We only take care of them and share them. The O-S fitting was the first tee capable of consciously diverting water into a radiator. It was wonderfully simple. It has one way in and two ways out. It also has a cuff cast into the inside to coax some of the water out the si...

  • H. B. Smith Company, 1929 pdf

    Their complete line of boilers and radiators

  • National Radiator Company, Catalog, 1926 pdf

    Their offering from Johnstown, PA. 

  • National Radiator Company, 1903 pdf

    Featuring their Solus line of radiators

  • The Standard Radiator Manufacturing Company, 1898 pdf

    Artful radiators from Buffalo, NY. 

  • Capitol Boilers and Radiators, 1934 pdf

    From the United States Radiator Company

  • What to do with boilers during the summer

    ... by opening the stopcock at the lowest part of the boiler or other apparatus. As the water runs out, the oil will follow it down through the pipes and radiators, coating the inside of them with a slight film, which will protect them from being attacked by the moist air left in the pipes, a corrosive...

  • What the heck do those letters stand for?

    ... PipeBMI = Black Malleable IronBMS = Building Management System/DDCB.O.C.A. = Building Officials and Code AdministratorsBOE = bottom opposite ends (re radiator connections) (UK)BP = Boiling PointBPVC = Boiler & Pressure Vessel CodeBtu = British Thermal UnitBSI = British Standards Institute (UK)B...

  • Clow Gasteam radiators

    Clow made some very interesting radiators during the 1920s. Each was its own little heating system. Here's a LINK to a book that tells their story well. 

  • A Steam Heating Primer

    ... was a change in the energy content.This energy is latent heat; it's what heats the house. We get nearly all of it back when the steam condenses in the radiators. Steam has the ability to heat when it's at zero-psi pressure. You see you don't need a lot of pressure to heat the building. All you need...

  • What causes water hammer? And how do you stop it?

    ... load. The steam pipes aren't insulated at all.You're supposed to insulate the supply pipes in a steam system so the steam doesn't condense on its way to the radiators. Bare pipes lose five times as much heat as insulated pipes. Without insulation, the piping's ability to condense steam may exceed...

  • Reasons why you can't raise pressure on the gauge, and where to look for solutions

    ... pressure to heat a building. The Dead Men sized their pipes so that the steam would create a very slight pressure drop from the boiler to the furthest radiator. They worked with charts that measured that pressure drop in ounces per hundred feet of travel. Even in a very large building, the total sy...

  • Reasons why there's too much heat in the building, and where to look for solutions

    The radiators are too big for the space they serve.There once was a time when people were afraid of the air in a closed room. They thought "vitiated" air (the name the used to describe it) would make them sick so they always kept a window open. The Dead Men knew their clients were going to do this s...

  • Reasons why there's no heat in certain parts of the building, and where to look for solutions

    The steam traps have failed in the closed position.If a thermostatic radiator trap fails in the closed position, no air will pass through it, so little or no steam will arrive at the radiator.Open the top of the trap and examine the bellows. If it's cool and fully distended, the trap has probably fa...

  • Reasons why there's a bad odor coming from the system, and where to look for solutions

    ... evening, before going off duty, he removed the boiler's relief valve and poured his savings into the boiler. The odor wafted up into the one-pipe-steam radiators of the filthy rich. Why did the superintendent do this? Because he could.Want more troubleshooting tips? Check out A Pocketful of Steam...

  • Reasons why the system takes a long time to heat, and where to look for solutions

    ... main vents, the steam will compress the trapped air and stop moving. If you have main vents, steam will travel quickly through the mains and reach the radiators in no time at all.Main vents belong near the ends of the mains, but never put them in a tee right at the very end of the main. If you do,...

  • Reasons why the system is producing unwanted vacuum, and where to look for solutions

    ... level.The steam pipes are partially insulated.You're supposed to insulate the supply pipes in a steam system so the steam doesn't condense on its way to the radiators. If some insulation is missing, the steam may be condensing quickly in some areas, and slowly in others. This can create pockets of...

  • Reasons why the system is losing water (that doesn't return), and where to look for solutions

    ... concrete can be aggressive enough to put holes in the pipe.If you can't see the pipes, suspect them. If they're very old, replace them.The main vents or radiator vents are losing water or steam.You can lose a lot of water through an air vent. In apartment buildings, tenants sometimes remove the air...

  • Reasons why the radiators don't heat all the way across, and where to look for solutions

    Are you sure they're supposed to?Keep in mind the Dead Men sized those radiators to heat the room to a comfortable temperature on the coldest day of the year. That's the day during which the radiators should be hot all the way across. If the radiator you're working with isn't hot all the way across,...

  • Reasons why there's too much water in the pipes, and where to look for solutions

    ... isn't right.In a one-pipe steam system, the condensate and the steam have to pass each other in that horizontal runout to the riser. If the riser feeds a radiator on the first floor, the pitch is not so critical because there's usually not that much condensate flowing back. However, when the riser...

  • Reasons why the fuel bills are abnormally high, and where to look for solutions

    ... vent), the steam will just compress it. The pressure will build and the burner will shut off on the pressuretrol. The building will stay cold because the radiators and mains contain air instead of steam. Someone will probably show up and raise the pressure, and that's when you'll start to burn more...

  • Reasons why the burner short-cycles, and where to look for solutions

    ... You may have to clean the boiler and the system and balance the pH with chemicals.The steam traps aren't working.Two-pipe steam is like a ladder. Each radiator is a rung on that "ladder," and at the end of each rung you'll find a steam trap. Part of the trap's job is to keep steam from entering the...

  • F&T trap lessons

    ... the end of the steam main into the dry return main. If it does, you'll lose the pressure differential across the system. Steam will stop moving to the radiators and you'll get some BODACIOUS water hammer!If you don't have a condensate pump or dry returns, you don't need F&T traps. You really do...

  • Steam Traps Trap Steam

    ... my all-time favorite: P-traps. Go ahead; figure it out on your own. But I digress. With the exception of some of the older vapor systems, thermostatic radiator traps belong on all two-pipe steam radiators. They go down low, on the side opposite the radiator’s supply valve. These wonderful automat...

  • How NOT to size steam traps

    ... there we were. Now this seemingly guilty trap was at the base of a two-inch steam riser that went from the basement up to the sixth floor, feeding six radiators as it went. The radiators also had steam traps, of the thermostatic variety, and any condensate that formed inside the radiators when the...

  • The 25 steps in the repair of a vacuum steam system

    ... on long after he was dead. If nothing else, this Dead Men had a sense of humor. 2. At the beginning of time, Mother Nature decided that thermostatic radiator traps should last about 10 years. This is because thermostatic traps have these flexible metal bellows that open and close a gazillion times...

  • A bit about vacuum pumps

    ... problem. Not all the air escaped from the system on the first firing cycle, and when the vacuum formed, that air expanded tremendously. It moved out of the radiators and down into the pipes, stopping the steam from reaching up to where the people were (where there is air, steam will not go). So whe...

  • The importance of pH in steam-boiler water

    ... and if you’re not venting the system well, the condensate will absorb the carbon dioxide as the steam gives up its latent heat to the pipes and the radiators. We call that Henry’s Law. The system winds up with carbonic acid in the returns and that’s bad news because carbonic acid removes the...

  • Two-Pipe, Air-Vent Steam Heating

    ... that the tenant no longer trusted the engineering firm they had hired to write the specs for the renovation of the offices they occupied. None of their radiators would get hot. They used to get hot, but they didn't anymore. That was the problem. They hired this engineer because he was older than mo...

  • Water Hammer in Steam Heating Systems

    ... load. The steam pipes aren't insulated. You're supposed to insulate the supply pipes in a steam system so the steam doesn't condense on its way to the radiators. Bare pipes lose about five times as much heat as pipes with a one-inch-thick insulation layer. Without insulation, the piping's ability t...

  • Best thermostats for steam systems

    ... longer to respond that hydronic or forced air. They also release heat long after the burner has shut down. Locate your stat on an inside wall, away from radiators, sunlight, kitchen or other heat sources. Fill the wiring hole with insulating material so the wall cavity temp won't interfere with the...

  • What I've learned about steam pressure

    ... witness to the comings and goings of countless people who never gave much thought to its many windows and its 25 stories that were served by one-pipe-steam radiators. The building just sat there, another granite fixture, a part of New York City. During the winter, many of its windows yawned open, l...

  • Steam velocity

    ... It really goes against logic. You would think that if you raised the pressure at the boiler you'd be pushing the steam harder, so it should get to your radiators faster, right? It doesn't. And here's why. Take a look at the nameplate on the boiler and notice that the rating is in BtuH. As you know,...

  • Steam piping and pressure differential

    ... pressure from one side of the trap to the other. Without the all-important delta-P there can be no flow, right? So the condensate flows down from the radiators in that zone and backs up into the main and the risers. It’s trying to gather some height and some static weight so that it can open that...

  • Why you should insulate steam pipes

    ... boiler, the rooms in your home will heat unevenly. Some will never get warm enough. Others will be too hot. If your thermostat is in a room that has a cold radiator, your fuel bills will probably also increase because your burner will run longer than it should. You’re also liable to get water ham...

  • How vacuum can form in a steam system

    ... and the old vacuum pump. The vacuum pump will start with the burner and pull the air from the system. It will suck the air from the return lines, the radiators, the supply mains, and all the way back to the boiler's water line. The steam will follow, and when the condensate returns to the vacuum pu...

  • The importance of near-boiler piping in a steam system

    ... it because it describes perfectly what goes on in the bottom of a steam boiler that serves an old steam system. Here we have pipes, valves, fitting and radiators that are perhaps 100 years old. Every steam-heating system is open to the atmosphere. When you wet iron and steel and then expose it to t...

  • Steam piping gone wrong

    ... long and wraps around the basement. At some point, they added a large family room built onto the back of this house. To heat the family room, they tied radiators into the existing steam system. One of these was a 105-square foot monster with its own return line to make sure the condensate got back...

  • Why Do Steam Coils Freeze?

    ... stood with an engineer at the base of a two-inch steam riser that reached up into an apartment building in Westchester County, NY. That riser was feeding radiators and the condensate was draining down a separate return. The F&T trap at the base of that riser had to drain the condensate that for...

  • Flooded Steam System Caused by Poor Piping

    ... what happened here. The feeder didn't close tightly while the homeowner was at work. The water quickly rose to the second floor and spewed out of her radiator air vents and onto the floor. By the time she got home, she could have used scuba gear. Her heating company was more than cooperative. They...

  • Balancing One-Pipe Steam Systems

    ... installed these old beauties. Do these things and you’ll have happier clients. First, vent the mains quickly. This will help the steam get to all the radiators at about the same time. Steam is a gas and it will always look for a way out of the system. When it leaves the boiler, it heads toward th...

  • Why undersized steam boilers waste fuel

    A guy called me to ask if I had any output ratings for some oddball steam radiators he needed to measure before he could replace the boiler. I looked them up and told him. He thanked me and hung up, but then called back about an hour later. “I’m sorry to keep bugging you,” he said, “but this...

  • Taking Another Look at Steam Boiler Sizing Methods

    ... some fundamental issues that currently limit the efficiency potential of many steam heating systems, especially those with standing radiation (cast iron radiators). The first and often most talked about, is that steam heating systems run at such high temperatures, they cannot take advantage of cond...

  • Steam boiler-room tips

    ... steam systems. Its job is to put the condensate back into the boiler, and also to act as the main vent for the whole system. Steam pushes air through the radiator traps and end-of-main traps. That air has to leave the system and it uses the vent on the condensate-receiver tank as its exit door. Che...

  • How to replace an old steam-heating boiler

    ... boiler’s ability to produce steam must match the system’s ability to condense steam. It really doesn’t matter what the building’s heat loss is. The radiators and pipes are going to condense steam at a certain rate, and if the boiler is too small (which usually happens if you size it based o...

  • The importance of air venting in steam systems

    ... For many years, the steam plunged that air toward that vent, and the air left the system exactly as planned. The steam gave up its latent heat to the radiators and condensed into water, shrinking to 1/1,700th the size it had occupied as steam. That’s the expansion ratio between water and steam: 1...

  • Thermostatic Radiator Valves

    What's wrong with this picture?See the remote thermostat sitting on top of the hot radiator? The folks in that office wondered why they couldn't seem to get comfortable.You can't make this stuff up.And did you know that that thermostatic radiator valves found their way onto the Empire State Building...

  • Steam vs. Hot Water

    ... we didn’t yet have circulators.There were two heating industries back in those days. The steam people came first, with James Watt's invention of the radiator. The challenge then was that there was no such thing as ASME, or ASHRAE, or I=B=R. Heck, they didn't even have relief valves you could take...

  • Don't size a hot-water boiler by measuring the radiators

    ... thinking about my overabundance of radiation? The other day, a contractor I know told me how he does a heat loss calculation. "I go around and measure the radiators," he said. "You mean when it's a steam heating system?” I asked. "Well, yeah, but not just steam," he said. "I do it on every system...

  • Don't size heating equipment with rules of thumb

    ... to get the proper leverage. How do you catch a thread on an eight-inch screwed pipe that goes from here to the other side of the basement? The American Radiator Company had made the boilers. They had originally fired coal but had long ago been converted to burn oil. There were two of them, and each...

  • When a radiant-heating system goes wrong

    ... since we moved to our town on the Isle of Long in 1977. Back then the church building had steam heat. It was an old Warren-Webster system, with big, bold radiators around the perimeter of the building. It would call to me each week through ticking and hammering, and all through the mass my mind wou...

  • The first radiant heating jobs

    ... about the details of the floor-heating systems. They went in fast and they were cheap, and both of those things were very good. We now have baseboard radiators. I think about those long-gone installers, though. Imagine working that quickly? You put the pipes on the ground and you pour the concrete....

  • Loop system hot-water heating Q&A

    ... What's loop hot water heating? A: It's the simplest method of heating with hot water. Each zone consists of a single loop made up of the pipe and the radiators. The water flows out of one radiator into the next. Q: What sort of radiators do most people use with loop hot water heating? A: Usually f...

  • Indirect hot-water heating Q&A

    ... heating? A: It's a method of heating the old-timers used to warm fresh air before it entered a building. Q: How did they do this? A: They placed the indirect radiators outside the room they were heating (that's where the name "indirect" comes from). They used ductwork to direct the fresh, outside a...

  • Honeywell Heat Generator

    ... accurate. The steam people had it so much easier. They were working with temperatures that started at 212 degrees and went up from there. That meant their radiators were smaller and less expensive than the hot-water man’s radiators. So Mark Honeywell, Plumber, set out to invent a device that woul...

  • Diverter-Tee Q&A

    Q: What's the principle of the diverter-tee system? A: This system lets you supply hot water to a radiator and return cooler water from the same radiator by using a single pipe. Q: Is this why everyone calls it a "one-pipe" system? A: Yes, the supply and return main are one and the same. Other type...

  • Converting from steam to hot-water heat?

    First things first. Before the 1920s, most steam contractors used cast-iron, column-type radiators. Those are the free-standing ones with the real wide sections. Column radiators were perfect for steam heating because they had a lot of internal space and they allowed the steam to rise up and displac...

  • How to run a hot-water zone off a steam boiler

    ... domestic water heater off a steam boiler using the same piping techniques I would with a heating zone? A: Yes. Just treat the indirect heater as you would a radiator. Make sure you blend return water into the hot boiler water to limit the supply to the heater to 180 degrees F Here's a sketch. Q: Ho...

  • Why some compression tanks fail

    ... packaged boilers don’t care where contractors install the circulator. That’s because manufacturers don’t have to go upstairs to vent air from the radiators, which is usually required when the circulator goes on the return side of the system, pumping toward the compression tank. A circulator h...

  • Some gravity-hot-water systems didn't have compression tanks

    ... pressure gauge hardly moved. I tapped it a few times, figuring it was busted (but who can tell by tapping?).After a while I noticed that every cast-iron radiator on this job was piped with a bottom-to-bottom connection. That got me thinking because those radiators were huge, and I figured, given th...

  • The Point of No Pressure Change

    ... in operation. This pressure is determined by the elevation of the expansion tank and must be such that sufficient pressure is maintained in the highest radiator to prevent boiling when the water is heated to the maximum temperature for which the system was designed."The line 9, 10, 11, 12, 5, is dr...

  • Sizing circulators for old gravity-hot-water heating systems

    ... to notice a lot of oversized circulators. In some cases, the circulator was so severely oversized that the boiler could hardly get any heat out to the radiators. The water couldn't pick up much heat in the boiler or shed it in the radiators because it was moving so fast. There is very little resist...

  • Net Positive Suction Head

    ... make it happen, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.For instance, set up a two-temperature system (say radiant along with high-temperature radiators) and use a three-way mixing valve to get the lower temperature. It’s possible to pipe this in a way so that when the three-way valve g...

  • Adjusting the flow rate for an old gravity-hot-water system

    ... two sides of the boiler are connected by two headers- one at the bottom rear, the other at the top. The top header feeds into the supply lines to the radiators. The old gravity returns were connected to 4-inch tappings in each side of the boiler. There's also an exhaust header leading to the smoke...

  • Boiler Ratings Explained

    ... - the Pickup Factor. You should know that this has nothing to do with the pipes; it has to do with the amount of water that's inside the pipes and the radiators when the boiler first starts. The boiler has to heat all that water from room temperature to, let's say, 180 degrees. That's going to take...

  • Modulating-condensing boilers

    ... iron rads) is down in the "radiant floor" area. My 200 has been running with an ideal reset curve for three seasons now. Even though I have TRVs on all radiators, the sun dial setting is right at the maximum temp I can maintain in any room. An important thing to remember about the sun/moon dial par...

  • Considerations when using constant circulation

    ... zone and is the only truly "free flowing" zone). All other zones are limited by a non-electric thermostatic operator, either at the point of use (panel radiators) or with a remote cap tube controller (large radiant surfaces). A basic outdoor reset program is established, and either over-ridden or u...

  • Boiler Failure After Two Years

    ... circulators – two vertical inline beasts, each capable of pounding out about 80 feet of pump head. We took a walk around the building. There were hundreds of radiators, and each had a thermostatic radiator valve. We went back to the boiler room.“I still think it’s bizarre that they put in the...

  • Heating in France

    ... who ride the service elevators all winter long and knock on doors. These people enter multi-million-dollar digs and then proceed to open and close the radiator valves for people who have way too much money. I explained that we call these people on staff, two-legged zone valves. My new European frie...

  • Heating in Russia

    ... boiler, usually oil-fired, and they keep it in a garage-type structure. It supplies hot water through a continuous circulation system underground. Cast-iron radiators are in the buildings, which the government owns. There are no thermostats in the buildings, but the rooms never get warm enough, any...

  • A Different Way to Pipe

    ... manifolds upstairs. Some of these manifolds served the PEX tubing that ran beneath the floors of the radiantly heated areas while others served panel radiators.I like this concept. Each panel radiator connected to the manifold with supply and return lines that were tiny by American standards. Water...

  • Frequently Asked Questions About Solar

    ... summer large heating arrays need to be protected from overheating issues. Water heated by the solar can be circulated through a radiant floor system or radiators. Systems should be designed to operate at the lowest possible fluid temperatures to leverage solar efficiency. Q: Can I heat my entire ho...

  • Flat panels or evacuated tubes?

    ... with both and plates seem more hardy. I see a lot tubes losing their vacuums and need to be replaced quite often. Once they lose vacuums they just become radiators and send the heat back out from which it came. I love the idea of the tubes, I just think they need more time to evolve.Dave Yates repl...

  • Conversion Factors

    ... =   Bituminous coal = 12,500 BTU per pound CFM X ΔT of air (in °F) / 800   Wood = 14,000,000 BTU per mixed cord           EDR FOR HOT WATER RADIATORS:     Average water temp °F Output in BTUH per sq ft. EDR   150 110   155 120   160 130   165 140   170 150   175 160   180 170 ...

  • Mixing passive and active heaters can lead to problems

    ... the summer heat with paper fans. If you close your eyes, you can still see them there. In the winter, they sat inside the house by the ornate, cast-iron radiators that ringed the room with warmth. Down in the basement, a behemoth of a coal-fired boiler heated water. The warmed water became buoyant...

  • Gravity Hot Water Heating Q&A

    ... Here's a diagram of an "upfeed" system. Q: Why did they call it upfeed? A: Because the water fed up from the bottom (the boiler) to the top (the highest radiator).Q: Where's the circulator? A: There isn't one! Circulating pumps, which we use on modern hot-water systems, hadn't been invented yet so...

  • Doody Vapor System pdf

    ... However, this one was not connected to the dry return to act as a receiver for water and air. Air was vented through special Doody vents installed on each radiator. These were designed to allow some steam to escape to humidify the rooms. The Doody equipment could be installed on a one-pipe steam sy...

  • Gorton radiator valve pdf

    One of Joseph Gorton's early ideas. Thanks to Steve Pajek for finding and sharing this 1908 patent.

  • Hubbard's radiator valve pdf

    Wait until you see this wonderful invention from 1922! I wish they still made these. Thanks to Gerry Gill for finding it.

  • Hutchison System pdf

    The Hutchison Vapor Heating System is very simple once you know how it works. There is no trap at the individual radiators. The returns are trapped at the boiler by means of the Hutchison trap-receiver and damper regulator combination. Here is a diagram from a 1923 edition of The Heating and Ventila...

  • Murray System pdf

    ... worked together on heating because they have many patents, but all seem to be within the same 15-year range. I like the induced chimney effect on their radiators." Me too!

  • Piping Design for Oil Firing pdf

    In this 1933 Fuel Oil Journal article, O.O. Oaks, Chief Engineer for the American Radiator Company, explains the effect automatic firing has on a steam system that was piped for coal-fired operation. Today, it would apply to both oil- and gas-fired boilers on older steam systems.

  • The Dunham Packless Inlet Valve pdf

    Packless radiator supply valves kept air from working its way into a vacuum system. This is from 1916. Thanks to David Cordes for sharing.

  • Thermostatic Radiator Traps pdf

    A nice explanation of thermostatic traps by Austin Roche, Chief Engineer for Hoffman Specialty. This appeared on June 13, 1952.

  • Wiley Water Seal Radiator Trap pdf

    This is courtesy of Steve Pajek. This patent contains the very best description of a water seal trap's role in vapor heating.

  • Design of Radiator/Convector Configurations in One- and Two-Pipe Water Installations pdf

    A big thanks to Mike Thies for scanning this hard-to-find article from Danfoss. There's a heavy emphasis on one-pipe water systems in this one. Great stuff.

  • Eggleston Relief Device for Hot Water System patent pdf

    ... finding and sharing it. Gerry points out that Lewis Eeggleston went on to become a heating engineer/inventor with numerous patents for both the American Radiator Company and the Detroit Lubricator Company.

  • Mark C. Honeywell's Patent for a New Type of Tee pdf

    In a gravity hot water system, the hottest water is near the top of the horizontal main and tends to travel first to the upper-floor radiators. Mr. Honeywell, in 1909, patented this invention to help balance these systems.  With Honeywell's tees in place, hot water would have to fill the entire pip...

  • Mark C. Honeywell's Patent for the "Unique" valve pdf

    ... installing hot-water heat a way to compete with the people who were installing one-pipe steam. The Unique valve allowed gave them a way to connect a hot-water radiator with just one pipe. Special thanks to Gerry Gill for sharing this with us....

  • Parker's twin tee pdf

    Edward Parker received this patent in 1911 for a different way to pipe a hot water radiator. Thanks to Steve Pajek for finding it and sharing it with us.

  • Phelps tee pdf

    ... gravity-hot-water-heating devices. Water would stratify in the horizontal main, with the hottest water rising to the top of the pipe. It left the tee and flowed to the radiator though the tee's top tapping. Cooler water from that radiator entered the same tee though the side tapping. Interesting th...

  • Taco's Taco-Trol System pdf

    Radiator Heat Plus Taco-Trol for Hot Water Heating Systems, circa 1950

  • 1897 American Radiator Company catalog pdf

    This very rare catalog comes to us by way of Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey. It's filled with hard-to-find ratings. Thanks, Steamhead!

  • A History of the Development of the Radiator pdf

    This article, written by Ara Marcus Daniels, appeared in Domestic Engineering magazine on January 11, 1930.

  • American Peerless Wall Radiators pdf

    This catalog is from 1920. It contains ratings for the Wall radiators and many nice photos.

  • American Radiator Company's Corto, 1922 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for scanning and sharing with us.

  • American Radiators, 1937 pdf

    This 1937 catalog has many of the cast-iron convectors made by American Radiator. Thanks to Robert Reape for sharing this with us.

  • American Standard Radiators and Convectors pdf

    A nice mailer with lots of information from 1946. Thanks to Kirby Slear for scanning and sharing. He notes, "You will notice the name of the individual who sold these, Harvey Mull, plumbing and heating, in RD#1 Selinsgrove. That is about 50 miles north of Harrisburg on the Susquehanna river. Harvey...

  • Announcing The Arco pdf

    A colorful brochure from American Radiator in 1930. Thanks to Robert Reape for sharing this with us.

  • Arco's Ventilorad Radiator Booster pdf

    An electric heat booster for ordinary radiator. Here is the literature from 1937, along with a letter to wholesale distributors from A. R. Herske, Vice President and General Sales Manager of the American Radiator Company. It essentially turns a radiator into a fan-coil unit. 

  • Bundy radiators for steam and hot water : also heating specialties (c.1894)

    Published in New York by the A. A. Griffing Iron Co. To access the ratings online, click HERE.

  • Central Radiator Company's Landsdale, 1926 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for scanning and sharing this with us.

  • Central Radiator Company's Plain and Ornimented, 1906 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for scanning and sharing this with us.

  • Corto radiators pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for finding and sharing this information about the beautiful Corto radiators.

  • Crane Radiant Baseboard Panels pdf

    This booklet from 1952 covers more than just the baseboard radiators. It also gets into system engineering, their boilers, and even steam heating.

  • Curved, Corner, 45-Degree Angle, Pantry, and Circular Radiators pdf

    Bryan Waldo scanned these rare radiators for us from the 1925 edition of The Ideal Fitter (from the American Radiator Company). Thanks, Bryan!

  • Does the Color of a Radiator Matter?

    ... understood. The object of this note is to supply the more important facts in the case. It will appear that as far as their effect on the performance of radiators is concerned, paints fall into two classes. First, those in which the pigment consists of small flakes of metal, such as the aluminum and...

  • Dominion Radiator Company's Safford, 1901 pdf

    This one is a joy to read and so beautifully illustrated. Early-20th-Century marketing at its best 

  • Exerter radiators and footrest radiators pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for finding and scanning these. He writes, "The Exeter was a column-type radiator with non-standard dimensions and ratings. That page also includes footrests for pipe radiators - good for warming your feet after trudging home in the snow."

  • Gorton radiator supply valves pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for coming up with these terrific inside views of some old Gorton & Lidgerwood valves.

  • Gurney Boilers and Radiators, 1927 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for scanning and sharing with us.

  • Gurney Heater Manufacturing Company's radiators, 1905 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for scanning and sharing with us.

  • Herman Nelson Invisible Radiators pdf

    From 1930, the ratings for those radiators that are inside the walls. Scanned and shared by our good friend, Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey.

  • How Should the House Be Heated? pdf

    What can be done to disguise the radiator and register? From The House Beautiful magazine. No date, but most likely the late-1910s or early-1920s.

  • Indirect radiation pdf

    This is from The Ideal Fitter (1922). You'll find indirect radiators (both steam and hot water) within basement ductwork. Often, there is a connection to outside air, and warm-air discharge to floor- or wall grates in the rooms.

  • Kewanee Radiators, 1924

    Here is a very complete 1924 Kewanee Boiler Company radiator catalog. Thanks to Andrew Strand for finding and sharing with us.

  • Mills radiators pdf

    ... who most of us know for the Mills boilers (still made until recently!), and the Mills overhead piping system. But he also came out with his own unique radiator design, which is mentioned in passing in Susan Reed Stifler's book The Beginnings of a Century of Steam and Water Heating. Check out the va...

  • Murray Radiators pdf

    These ratings are very hard to come by. And thanks to Gerry Gill for finding and sharing the Murray patent, which you'll also find here.

  • United States Radiator Corporation's Boilers and Radiators pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for finding and sharing this one with us.

  • Pierce radiators pdf

    From their 1935 catalog. Thanks to Robert Reape for sharing this with us.

  • Radiator output based on temperature pdf

    This chart from Shaw-Perkins Radiators shows the various outputs in Btu/hr per square foot E.D.R. that you'll get at various steam pressures (including vacuum systems). Thanks to Patrick Linhardt for scanning and sharing this with us.

  • Ratings for Gold, Nason, Bundy, and Reed Radiators pdf

    These are some of the first radiators made. The ratings are have been very tough to come by. Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for finding and sharing them with us!

  • Richmond Floorline Radiator pdf

    Baseboard radiation from 1929

  • Round-radiator photos pdf

    Thanks to Scott Albrecht, Pipe Shop Repair Foreman, Planning Design & Construction, Cornell University for taking these photos.

  • Scott Valve Company radiators pdf

    Scott Valve Company of Chicago printed this catalog in 1915.

  • Standard Radiator's Plain and Ornimental, 1898 pdf

    Thanks to Bob Moore for finding and sharing this one with us.

  • Sun Radiators and Heaters pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for sharing this unique 1905 catalog with us. It's from the U.S. Radiator and Boiler Company of Pittsburg, PA and contains some very hard-to-find rating

  • U.S. Capitol Radiators pdf

    Special thanks to Mike Thies for scanning this for us.

  • Vento Cast Iron Heaters pdf

    From The Ideal Fitter, which the American Radiator Company published yearly back in the day.

  • Wallworth radiators pdf

    ... Century of Steam and Water Heating. Walworth was selling quite a few H.B. Smith products at the time, including Mills boilers and various Smith column radiators, as well as other standard types of column radiators. This set includes Walworth vertical pipe radiators, which look a lot like Nason radi...

  • Whittier radiators pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for sharing this one with us. He writes, "The first page is from Susan Reed Stifler's book, The Beginnings of a Century of Steam and Water Heating, published in 1960. It shows that the Whittier was patented in 1868, and the H.B. Smith Co. made all Whittiers startin...

  • Young Radiator Comapny catalog pdf

    This catalog covers the Young copper convectors, as made in 1937.

  • Gold's Mattress Radiator pdf

    Thanks to Gerry Gill for finding the patent for Steven J. Gold's "mattress" radiator. This is the first radiator that was a commercial success in America.

  • The Patent for Steven J Gold's Boiler pdf

    Mr. Gold was the inventor of the first radiator, the "mattress" radiator. Here is is patent for his boiler, which appeared nine years later. Much thanks to Gerry Gill for sharing this wonderful document with us.

  • Ideal Heating Journal magazine, November 1912 pdf

    This one contains a wonderful ode to a radiator, and a fascinating article about the first safety valve.

  • American Radiator Company's "American Ideals" pdf

    This one, from 1923, features Robert E. Lee. I imagine this was a series of ads, although I've yet to come across any others.

  • Gold's "Mattress" Radiator

    Invented in 1854, it's in it's final days here in this 1898 Heating and Ventilating magazine ad.

  • National Radiator Company's No. 2 Oil-Fired Boiler pdf

    An interesting presentation of extended heating surface in a boiler. Size matters. This is from 1941.

  • National Heating Guide Bluebook of the Industry, 1930 pdf

    ... in Pittsburgh for finding, scanning and sharing this remarkable guide.  National Heating Guide Bluebook of the Industry, 1930, is an index of National Radiator Corporation's products. It includes: National Bonded Boilers National Radiation National Heating Accessories National Engineering Data The...

  • The Ideal fitter : American radiators & Ideal boilers (1910)

    To access this book online, click HERE.

  • National Radiator Corporation pdf

    Thanks to Frank "Steamhead" Wilsey for finding and scanning this 1928 document, which announces the formation of the National Radiator Corporation from six smaller companies.

  • Older Beacon, Part 2 pdf

    ... FiltrationCo., Bros Inc., Brown Oil Burnign Equip. Co., Brown Products Co.,Brownell Co., Bryan Steam Corp., Bryant Air Conditioning Corp., BryantMfg. Co., Bufalo Radiator Co., Burkhardt Engineering Assoc., BurleyHeater Co.

  • Older Beacon, Part 3 pdf

    ... manufacturers: Burnham, Campbell Co., E.K., Canfield Supply Co.,Carrier Corp., Carter Craft Co., Case & Son Co., W.A., CatskillMetal Works, Inc., Central Radiator Co., Central State Steel BoilerCo., Century Engineering Corp., Clayton Mfg. Co., Clow & Sons,James B., Coal-O-Matic Div., Coates...

  • Older Beacon, Part 4 pdf

    ... Soto Oil Burner Corp.,Dewey Shepard Boiler Co., Diesel Oil Burner Corp. of N.Y., Dodge,August W., Dowdeswell Co., Albert J., Drill Mfg., Co., Dunkirk RadiatorCorp., Eastern Boiler Co., Eastern Foundry Co., Easternoil, Inc.,Eckhart Mfg. Co., Edwards Engineering Corp., Electric Furnace-Man,Inc., Elec...

  • Older Beacon, Part 5 pdf

    ... & Hubbell, Herbert Boiler Co., Herco Oil Burner Corp., Herendeen Mfg. Co., Hersey & Son. George H., Hitchings &Co., Hoffberger Co. C., Holland Radiator Co., Homease Products Div.,Hook & Ackerman, Inc., Hook Heater Co., Hook Mfg. Co., Hopson & Chapin Mfg. Co., Hudson Boiler Mfg....

  • Older Beacon, Part 7 pdf

    ... Products Corp., McAlister Boiler Works D.J., McIntyreEng. Co., McLain Co. J.H., Michigan Tank & Heater Co., Miller Co.,Molby Boiler Co., Monitor Bi-Loop Radiator Co., Montgomery Ward Co.,Morheat Corp., Morrison & Co. Alexander, Motor Wheel Corp., MottIron Works J. L., Mt. Hawley Mfg. Co., M...

  • Older Beacon, Part 8 pdf

    This section contains pages 147 through 165 and includes ratings for these manufacturers: National U.S. Radiator Corp., Nelson Mfg. Co., NewYork Central Iron Works, New Yorker Steel Boiler Co., Niagara Radiator& Boiler Co., Norge Heat Div., Norse Boiler Co., Novelty Iron Co.,Oil Equipment Labora...

  • Older Beacon, Part 10 pdf

    ... these manufacturers: Prudential Heating Co., Putnam Co. The, Quiet Automatic Burner Corp., Quiet May Div. of Penn Boiler and Burner Mfg. Corp., Raritan Radiator Co., Raypak Co. Inc., Red Wing Oil Burner Co., Reif-Rexoil, Inc., Republic Boiler Div., Ret-Rac Corp., Rheem Mfg. Co., Richardson & Bo...

  • Older Beacon, Part 11 pdf

    ... Seidelhuber Iron & Bronze Works, Inc., Selectrol Engineering Co., Seltzer & Co., Scharp & Van Fleet Mfg. Co., Shephard Heater Co. Inc., Shirley Radiator & Foundry Co., Silent Glow Oil Burner Corp., Smith Corp. A.O., Smith Co. Inc. The H.B., Smith & Anthony Co., Smith & Thaye...

  • Older Beacon, Part 12 pdf

    ... Thompson Heater Co., Timken Silent Automatic Div., Titusville Iron Works Co. The, Toridheet Div. Cleveland Steel Products Corp., Triad Sales Corp., U.S. Radiator Corp., Union Stove Works, United Welding & Boiler Works, Universal Smokeless Boiler Co., Utica Heater

  • Beacon, Part 2 pdf

    ... contains pages A20 through A43 and includes ratings for these manufacturers: Columbia Boiler Co. of Pottstown, Crane Company, Crown Industries, Inc., Dunkirk Radiator Corp., Edwards Engineering, Electric Furnace-Man, Inc., Federal Boiler Company, General Automatic Products Corp., General Electric C...

  • Beacon, Part 4 pdf

    ... The H.B. Smith Co., Stewart-Warner Corp., Thatcher Furnace Co., Themo-Dynamics, Thermo-O-Tek, Inc., Toridheet Div. Cleveland Steel Products Co., Utica Radiator Corp., Van Wert Mfg. Co., Waltham Products, Inc., WEstcott Snyder Mfg. Corp., Weil-McLain Co., York-Shipley, Inc.

  • Anticipation and Cycle Rate

    ... come on.This standard cycle rate applies to hydronic baseboard heating and forced air furnaces of less than 90% efficiency. The standard for cast-iron radiators and high-efficiency furnaces is three cycles per hour — 20 minutes per cycle. The standard for electric heat is nine cycles per hour.The...

  • How To Care For Your Heating Plant pdf

    From the American Radiator Company. This will give you a good sense of how hands-on a proposition owning a heating system used to be. Special thanks to Alex Marx for the wonderful scan.

  • Mercury-Bulb Thermostat Myths

    ... equals 10 minutes per cycle.) As the temperature gets colder outside, on-time takes more of the cycle and off-time takes less. Cycle rate for cast iron radiators is usually three cycles per hour. That’s because it takes longer for cast iron to give off all its heat. Electric heat is usually nine...

  • Why Some Compression Tanks Fail

    ... packaged boilers don’t care where contractors install the circulator. That’s because manufacturers don’t have to go upstairs to vent air from the radiators, which is usually required when the circulator goes on the return side of the system, pumping toward the compression tank. A circulator h...

  • How that steam boiler got to be so big

    ... People were afraid of the air in their homes. They weren’t about to close their windows, so the early engineers who sized those first steam boilers and radiators had to put in units that would warm the building with the windows open. When the wealthier people who lived in single-family homes made...

  • Boiler Sizing

    ... You can see it in the engineering books published after 1920. The authors wrote of the Fresh Air Movement and cautioned engineers to specify boilers and radiators that will be large enough to heat the building on the coldest day of the year, with the windows open. If you base the size of your new b...

  • What the heck do those letters stand for?

    ... Pipe BMI = Black Malleable Iron BMS = Building Management System/DDC B.O.C.A. = Building Officials and Code Administrators BOE = bottom opposite ends (re radiator connections) (UK) BP = Boiling Point BPVC = Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code Btu = British Thermal Unit BSI = British Standards Institu...

  • Anticipators

    ... on. This standard cycle rate applies to hydronic baseboard heating and forced air furnaces of less than 90 percent efficiency.The standard for cast-iron radiators and high-efficiency furnaces is three cycles per hour — 20 minutes per cycle. The standard for electric heat is nine cycles per hour.T...

Blog & News Categories (1)

Blog & News Posts (193)

  • Divvying Up the Utility Bill

    ... I also saw evaporative Btu meters for the first time. I was in the basement restroom of a tiny bar and looking at the white (well sort of) flat-panel radiator that hung over the urinal. It had what looked like a mercury thermometer stuck to it.With the exception of my buddies, who were all from Ame...

  • Mistakes Were Made

    ... mansion?”“Oh no!” he said. “It’s a modest house, just 2,500 square feet. We have three bedrooms and two baths."“How many pipes connect to each radiator?”“Just one. There’s a pipe on the lower side of each radiator and an air vent on the opposite side.”“You have a one-pipe stea...

  • Trane Whistles

    ... should I use?"It sure sounded like velocity noise to me, and it might be the returns but first I asked him if he had removed the guts from the thermostatic radiator traps. He told me that he hadn't and I asked him why not. "Because there aren't any radiator traps," he said. "There are just these co...

  • Learning from the 1930s

    ... Man said that it took 12 tons of coal to heat a typical building with hot air and a cold-air supply. It took nine tons of coal to heat with direct steam radiators, and 8 tons of coal to heat with hot water. And then he said that a vapor- or vacuum system would need a bit less than eight tons of coa...

  • Dead Men Tips

    ... Fremont Lobbestael of Ann Arbor, Michigan once told me about how things were when he first got started.“Back then, the plumbers used to fix leaks in old radiators by tamping lead wool into the holes,” he said. “Lead wool was better than steel wool because it’s not brittle. It packs and it s...

  • Many Tanks!

    In this episode, Dan Holohan walks through a job where the Dead Men used the top portion of each cast-iron radiator as a little compression tank. Episode TranscriptIt all started when a friend called to tell me about this old gravity hot-water system that had him baffled. “There’s no expansion...

  • How Steam Traps Can Bite You

    ... this for a while with the Mills System, which sent the steam up to the attic through an “express” riser. From there, steam flowed downward toward the radiators, taking the condensate with it. That’s called parallel flow, which is a lot friendlier than counterflow.When the rich folks decided t...

  • The Two Sides of Hydronics

    ... knowledge is not a prerequisite. A lot of this stuff got made up as they went along. Where to place the circulator when it finally showed up? How to size a radiator? How to rate that radiator?That last question has a delicious history. Nowadays, we use the term Equivalent Direct Radiation, or EDR f...

  • Seeing The World In A Different Way

    ... it short, what he did was replace the air vents on a one-pipe steam system with small-diameter tubes that dipped down a mercury pot, placed under each radiator. The steam would shove the air through the pipes, into and out of the radiators, down the vent tube, and through the mercury. Once the air...

  • Grabbing the Elephant

    ... that the tenant no longer trusted the engineering firm they had hired to write the specs for the renovation of the offices they occupied. None of their radiators would get hot. They used to get hot, but not anymore. That was the problem. They hired this engineer because he was older than most of th...

  • The Unseen Damage of A Flooded Steam System

    ... had it not started acting up."It bangs all the time now," he said. "It didn't used to, but it does now.""It started all of a sudden," she agreed."Do the radiators heat well?" I asked."Not like they used to," he said."They heated much better before the banging started," she added."When did the bangi...

  • Cardboard Apps

    ... there on the front. Huh?Or how about this one from Waterfilm Boilers, Inc. of Jersey City, NJ? It was 1953 and they were selling Koven Trimrad baseboard radiators. They gave away a plastic-and-cardboard app that fit in your pocket. It calculated heat loss and sized the baseboard. All you needed to...

  • Teaching Kids About Energy Conservation

    ... somewhat knowledgeable about heating and cooling and how our bodies react to ceiling fans I’ve explained to Adam more than once how the human body is a radiator. We lose heat at a very definite rate, and in three ways. We sweat, which cools our bodies through evaporation. We radiate our body’s...

  • Adventures in Pumping

    ... install big pipes to keep the resistance to flow at a minimum. The boiler would heat the water, which would then flow languidly upward and toward the radiators. It would nudge the colder water that filled the pipes and radiators above the boiler downward, creating a wonderful Ferris wheel of heat....

  • Old Radiator Tips

    In this episode, Dan Holohan shares some tips about old radiators that he’s picked up over the years from the Dead Men. Episode TranscriptAmerica has plenty of old buildings, heated with steam or hot water and some people love those old radiators, while others hate them. But they’re there and w...

  • Why Compression Tanks Waterlog

    ... through an overflow pipe. No problem.Some of those early gravity systems didn’t have attic tanks. The Dead Men would, instead, connect their cast-iron radiators across the bottom push nipples and leave a portion of each radiator filled with air. The collected air in the tops of all the radiators...

  • It's Just What I Do

    ... posted this question on The Wall at HeatingHelp.com: “Can I convert an old gravity, hot-water boiler into a steam system, leaving the old piping and radiators in place?”Now you have to admit that is one unusual question. These days, most contractors would be asking how to best convert an old st...

  • How One Missing Pipe Can Make All the Difference

    ... the basement, of course, and steam-heated homes traditionally didn’t have heated basements unless the homeowners were wealthy. And in that case, the radiators wound up either on the basement ceiling, or high up on the basement walls to get them above the steam boiler’s waterline.But most of the...

  • The Magic of a Simple Air Vent

    ... $2.75. Imagine that.There’s an ad for an air vent in that issue of Popular Science. The headline reads, "Heating experts discover how to make cold radiators hot."Who could resist that?There’s a cutaway drawing of the air vent. It looks very well made in the drawing. It had a siphon tube about...

  • The Foundry

    ... soldiers.The iron boiler sections take hours and hours to cool, and even when out of the mold and stacked for a very long time, they still feel like steam radiators on a frigid day. I stood close, but not too close.They grind and machine these sections, which is hard, dirty work, and they press the...

  • Old-School Solutions

    ... two sources of steam in the supply and return lines will trap air in between. Where there is air, steam will not go, so a lot of folks wind up with cold radiators, along with high fuel bills. Having steam traps is like raising teenagers who never grow up. It’s a big job.Some years ago, Paul decid...

  • What's In The Way?

    ... arms like she was fighting a cloud of hornets. I thought she’d fall off the stage, but it all worked out in the end.I spent four years looking at steam radiators and pipes as I wandered up and down Mount Saint Joseph. Many of the buildings at Holy Cross are deliciously old and I can’t resist an...

  • Heating Boston's Old North Church

    ... system in Boston's Old North Church, as well as some Dead Men tips for a false-water-line bottle. Episode TranscriptHuge, cast-iron, column-type, steam radiators warm Boston's Old North Church, the place made famous by Paul Revere’s lanterns. They are of the two-pipe-steam variety, but instead...

  • Hidden Radiators

    ... Dan Holohan shares how the Dead Men installed indirect radiation in wealthy customers’ homes. It combined heating with ventilation and discretely hid radiators. Episode Transcript There once was a type of radiation that hung heavily inside metal ductwork in the basements of rich people’s homes...

  • Adventures In Steam Heating

    ... the wrong way, and the new boiler no longer sat snugly in its pit. This was not good. The system started to knock and bang in furious anger. Most of the radiators went stone cold, water shot from the main air vents, the radiators rumbled like coffee percolators, and the fuel bills soared.And that's...

  • I Can See Clearly Now

    ... Heating, along with a love note.She now lives in Maryland with her family and a horrible furnace (“the air-blower thing”). I continue to be patient.“Radiators are ugly,” a New York City apartment dweller once told me. “They’re old and big and ugly.”I told her about a time when radiato...

  • A Dead Men Secret

    ... classic, gravity systems.You’re also limited to a building no taller than three stories because when the hot water rises, it gives up its heat to the radiators. Beyond three stories, the hot water pretty much stops rising because the water has lost much of its heat. These systems worked by the di...

  • How They Rated Radiators

     From the paint-the-floor method to the American Radiator Company's Institute of Thermal Research, Dan Holohan explores how the Dead Men developed radiator ratings. Episode Transcript So go look in a radiator catalog and you’ll see the Equivalent Direct Radiation ratings for all those different...

  • When It Comes to Boilers, How Old Is Too Old?

    ... would ever need. And the coverage extended beyond the boiler and into the system. Some oil companies would even send a guy to your house to bleed your radiators. Imagine that.The cost of all of this was the cost of doing business, and the oil companies made good money selling comfort by the gallon....

  • Voices From The Past

    ... water line are filled with air, right?""Right.""And as the steam leaves the boiler, it has to push all the air out of the pipes in order to reach the radiators.""I know that," he said."Okay, so how does the air get out?" I asked."Through the radiator air vents.""Correct. And which radiators get hot...

  • Air Vents and American History

    ... through the roof!They had no choice. There were no automatic air vents. Venting was strictly a manual affair. You opened and closed a petcock on each radiator when you wanted heat. If you left the petcocks open, steam went out the roof. And that’s pretty wasteful. America needed a good automatic...

  • How To Kill A Boiler

    ... because getting into people's apartments or offices is just too much of a strain. Besides, the failed traps look okay from the outside.But because these radiator traps had failed, and most of them were stuck in the open position, great plumes of steam blew from this condensate pump’s receiver dow...

  • Special Tees

    ... grew up to become what we call an expansion tank.The tee that Gil Carlson had in mind, showed up later, around the time when the Dead Men started to use radiators. Those tees sent the hot water either through, or around, a radiator, and I imagine many of those folks learned about The Law of the Tee...

  • Events That Shaped Heating History

    ... Singer lost the prototype for his sewing machine in that explosion. Such is the power of steam.On October 3, 1854, Steven Gold patented his “mattress” radiator. It was the first safe steam radiator for house heating. I can tell you where to go if you'd like to see some of these today. What are...

  • The Redflash Reckoning

    ... on an opportunity to see a grand old house.We went from room to room and I gawked. The place had gravity hot-water heat and any of the old, cast-iron radiators could have held a hot-air balloon in place. It was a classic.“Can we go to the basement?” I asked.“Sure,” he said.“Wait ‘til yo...

  • Noise or Music?

    ... kinda like keeping in touch with what my steam system is doing via the noises it makes. And since venting the steam main, I rarely hear anything from the radiator vents, except air being drawn in through open vents at the end of a cycle.”Okay, let’s pause here. I’m guessing Precaud is working...

  • The Case for Radiator Covers

    In March 2010, a nine-month-old boy rolled off his sister’s bed in Jersey City, New Jersey, and got stuck between the bed and a cast-iron, steam radiator that was as hot as it’s supposed to be. The radiator delivered third-degree burns to the infant and left him with permanent scars.The child’...

  • All That History Nonsense

    ... what the heck is it?” he asked again… And I told him.Ed Bratton, a steam-heating wizard from Hudson, NY, once took me to an old house and showed me radiators that were installed in 1857. I got so excited the homeowner, a wonderful old country doctor by the name of Tom Cacciopi, gave me one to t...

  • Modern Times, Old Buildings

    ... Marianne accepted the insulation and gave him a look that could curdle milk. He left and I arrived and slid the insulation over the pipes. I also closed the radiator valves on the one-pipe steam radiators. That only made the radiators bang all the more because the valves were old and they didn't se...

  • The Teachings of Fremont

    ... me as a colleague who needed to learn something. That’s all.He also told me that when he was just starting out, the plumbers used to fix leaks in old radiators by tamping lead wool into the holes. He explained how lead wool was better than steel wool because it’s not brittle. “It packs and it...

  • Adventures in Pumping

    ... install big pipes to keep the resistance to flow at a minimum. The boiler would heat the water, which would then flow languidly upward and toward the radiators. It would nudge the colder water that filled the pipes and radiators above the boiler downward, creating a wonderful Ferris wheel of heat....

  • The Radiator

    Take the time to consider the beauty of simple things like the radiator. Everything ever made began with someone’s dream, and with their passion to create. Episode TranscriptThis radiator, the one by the front door, was born in the mind of a young man, now dead, one day in July in a small town in...

  • Oh, The Places You Will Go

    ... on Rikers Island with their heating guy. The guards had moved the 2 two prisoners out of that particular cell so we could do what we had to do with the radiator that was locked up as tightly as the prisoners. I was wearing a jacket and tie because that was the dress code for a manufacturer rep in t...

  • Saving Coal At Home

    ... right? I like that. All steam pipes need insulation so the steam doesn’t turn back into liquid water while it’s still in the basement. If it does, the radiators upstairs are going to be cold and the people are going to be miserable. It’s also good to insulate hot-water pipes, but it’s not a...

  • Generations

    ... where I grew up. We lived in a five-story Manhattan tenement with no elevator. It had one-pipe steam, of course. We kept a pan of water on top of the radiator to add humidity to the air. The radiators made a raucous banging whenever the steam came up. If there wasn't enough heat, my mother would ba...

  • The Mills System Surprise

    ... some mighty fine books about heating. He also came up with the idea of sending a big pipe up to the top of the building and then down-feeding all the radiators.”“Why’s that?” Tommy asked.“So that the steam and condensate could get out of each other’s way,” I said. “This place has on...

  • Does It Pay To Fix Steam Traps?

    ... won’t mix with air, so for the steam to move, the air has to get out of its way. If the air can’t get out, the steam can’t get in, and that means cold radiators and unhappy people.So the steam traps all smile as the air moves through them. If you look closely, you’ll see those smiles at the...

  • Advanced, Efficient Boiler System Helps Revitalize Century-Old Home

    ... sometimes dipping below 50 degrees. On top of that, our existing boiler was really inefficient and was the only heat source for the first and second floor radiators.”Bartholomay-Berreth contacted John Robinson at Esser Aire Serv Plumbing & Heating, which performs commercial and residential in...

  • Who Gets To Work on Steam?

    ... laughed. “Everybody!”Another day, I’m walking through an office building where another of the everybodies had just added dozens of thermostatic radiator valves with remote sensors. He added them because the building had steam heat, and was hotter than a menopause convention. TRVs, when proper...

  • How ASHRAE Began

    ... wonderful story it is.And then, when he turned toward the future, I was amazed at how much he got right. This was one prescient Irishman. He predicted that radiators would quickly evolve into “poems in art.” When we look at those ornate Victorian beauties that appeared around the Turn of the Ce...

  • Keep An Eye On District Heating

    ... as well as the heat from the trains passing by underground. They're using an air-to-water heat exchanger to capture that heat, which then flows to the radiators in 17 social-housing apartments next to the Metro stop.The Swedes have been doing a similar thing within Stockholm's train station since 2...

  • Marbles and Ghosts

    ... ghost-flow out of the boiler and into the zone’s return pipe. This is especially true if the return drops vertically into the boiler. The back end of the radiator will get hot and you'll start thinking that water is flowing backward. You'll be correct, but it's not the circulator doing it. It's t...

  • Learning From History

    ... Hmm. I’ve known a few contractors who licked their lips at that sort of scrap history.On these jobs, the Dead Men would usually pipe their cast-iron radiators with the inlet and the outlet both at the bottom and on opposite ends because they didn’t have circulators. The water would rise slowly...

  • Creepy Crawl Spaces

    ... looking for things that leak or go bump in the night. Here’s some of what they told me.“I ran into a nest of copperheads face to face while installing radiator piping in a 350-year-old Dutch home in Kingston, NY,” one of the guys said. “I set a new record for reverse-gear to get out of ther...

  • Collectors

    ... people who were interested in where we came from, and how we got to where we are.I collected old heating oddities and books for many years. I had gorgeous radiators, air vents that looked nothing like today’s air vents, steam-vapor devices that did marvelous things, thermostats filled with mercur...

  • Troubleshooting In An Antique Building

    ... one-pipe steam, and others using two pipes, but without steam traps. This is what we call the two-pipe, air-vent system. It acts like one-pipe steam, but the radiators have drains for the condensate.The building needed ventilation, so the long-gone contractor hid a steam coil inside ductwork down i...

  • What's Inside?

    ... why?”“What have you done so far?” I asked.“I changed all the air vents, as well as the main vent down in the basement. I checked the pitch of all the radiators on that riser. They all pitch backward toward the supply valve. I don’t think the condensate has any problem draining from those...

  • Troubleshooting the Cuckoo’s Nest

    ... work on steam heat. We’re hoping you’ll walk around with us after the seminar and look at some of the problems they’re having.”I looked up at the radiator that was mounted on the ceiling. “Love to,” I said.The class went well. The contractor had invited his own people, as well as severa...

  • The Missing Chimney

    ... had a steam engine. Some of the New York City mansions had these. The engine made electricity, and they used the waste steam to heat the building. The radiators had me thinking this way for a while because each had an abandoned pipe that once took the air from the radiators. The Dead Men called thi...

  • My Favorite Radiator Stories

    ... contractor who dressed like that for work wasn’t going to be standing at Uncle Tony’s counter.“How can I help you?” Uncle Tony said.“I need a new radiator,” the homeowner said. He handed Tony a photo. “This is what the old one looked like. It broke.”Uncle Tony took the photo and loo...

  • When Luck Fails You

    ... involved an Englishman whose name is lost to time. He was running pipe from what they thought of as a boiler in those days to what we would someday call a radiator. In between those two components was steel pipe that was supposed to be strong enough to take the pressure.The problem, though, was the...

  • The Little-Known Story Behind a Popular Tool

    ... in 1842 down in New York City. They called the company Walworth and Nason and they were the first heating contractors. They more or less invented the radiator as we know it today. In fact, Joseph Nason gave it its name. Walworth and Nason later moved to Boston and got some good work going. They eve...

  • The Hidden Air Vent

    In this episode, Dan Holohan tells us about the time he channeled MacGyver when fixing a radiator with a very unusual old air vent.  Episode Transcript Our old family dentist, Doctor Bob, bought a retirement home out on the east end of Long Island a few years back and he’d tell me about it while...

  • Baseboard Adventures

    ... But it there's too much baseboard, those flue gases will be smiling because oversized baseboard is similar to those old systems that have high-volume radiators. The other guy's mistake just might work in your favor if you're smart, but watch out for that maximum run of 70 feet on any one loop.One l...

  • The Duke Mansion Mystery

    ... ducts and saw the big, cast-iron indirect heaters looming in there. The architects who served the rich way back when didn’t want to burden them with radiators. Radiators were for the servants’ quarters. The rest of the house drew its warmth from the hot air that wafted over these huge indirect...

  • Novels and Heating History

    ... about today is the way that heating appears in just about all of those old novels, and almost as a character. The stove, the fireplace, the boiler, the radiators – they all move with the plot and affect the lives of the people in the stories. The novels keep circling back to how the heating worke...

  • What Might Have Been

    ... anthracite coal. The castellated roof of this gorgeous, landmarked building is made of gold-colored bricks, which simulates fire. This is the old American Radiator Building, and it stands as a monument to the once-great promise of hydronic heating in America. The basement, now a bar, was once a sho...

  • How to Embarrass a Beautiful Old Radiator

    In this episode, Dan Holohan takes us to a seaside Victorian estate and meets a beautiful old radiator with tears in its eyes. Episode TranscriptIf radiators could talk, I think many of them would tell us they don't get no respect, just like Rodney Dangerfield never did. I was thinking about this o...

  • The Great Experimenter

    ... main to go straight up to the top of the building and then turn horizontally to go around the perimeter of the attic, and then, finally, downfeed all the radiators so that the steam and the condensate traveled in the same direction. They called this the Mills System and it worked beautifully. And...

  • The Origin of the Btu

    ... article had to do with ways to keep the worms from eating the hulls of wooden ships. I think he needed to focus more.James Watt was the first guy to put a radiator in a house. It was in his own proper English house, of course, and the year was 1785.In 1911, The iconic Royal Liver Building, the worl...

  • Sludge, Scale and Bouncing Boilers

    ... both scale and sludge with this trick. Now go amaze your customer with your new-found street smarts.A bit more about sludge. It will often wind up in the radiators if the hardness in the water gets a chance to react with any phosphate or alkaline treatments someone may have added to the system. Slu...

  • Frugal Tools

    ... these, and fully understand why Grandpa was so strong and in such great shape. I used the one-inch die to make a custom-length nipple for one of my small radiators. Wow! I don’t want to do that too often, at least not on black-steel pipe. I also couldn’t help but notice that this was the bigges...

  • The Magical History Tour

    ... the time. Mr. Baldwin used the ad revenue to pay for the book’s publication. That was common in those days for heating books.There's an ad for Nason Radiators. These beauties had a series of vertical tubes that looked like rifle barrels. Each was capped at the top and there was an ornamental iron...

  • This Is What It Sounds Like When The Doves Cry

    ... Is it up at the top of the system. The further the water gets from the circulator, the less differential pressure there will be as it flows across the radiators. Low differential pressure causes the water to slow down. If it slows enough, air that got by the separator downstairs can come out of sol...

  • Why We Run Steam Boilers At 2-PSIG Pressure

    ... The rating now includes all mains, returns and risers as heating surface, and the surface exposed in them must be added to the surface required in the radiators to determine the boiler power needed. It is only necessary for the trade to understand that the mains must be considered to avoid purchasi...

  • The Legacy of Gil Carlson, Hydronics Pioneer

    ... office building. The problem, however, was that the pressure drop through each Monoflo circuit was much too high. The water refused to flow through the radiators. It stayed in the main. Water will do that to you. It’s lazy. And it loves the path of least resistance.After a few calculations, Gil s...

  • The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen

    ... through a pipe buried beneath West 44th Street. The steam moves through two pressure-reducing valves, ignoring the old boilers, and soars upward toward the radiators, which have been hard at work since the 19th Century. They, too, are antiques, but very workable ones.Andrew Paul invented vacuum hea...

  • Form Follows Function

    ... basements because coal burns continuously for hours and hours. The steam took its sweet time making its way around the perimeter main and up the risers to the radiators. Life was good.And it got even better when the oil guys arrived years later with their on/off oil burners and thermostats that eve...

  • The Illuminating Beginnings of Gas Boilers

    ... hearth evenings."And those of us who now live in heated homes know that, even though the method of heating may be otherwise ideal, a hot-water or steam radiator or register at its best is cheerless in looks, and not inviting “And there are days in the early Fall and late Spring when in mid-day th...

  • Heating John Lennon’s Apartment

    ... remember.Most of New York City still heats with steam, a 19th-Century technology that hangs on like an old uncle. The steam races directly from boiler to radiators without benefit of any sort of heat exchanger. The steam condenses inside the radiators, giving up its latent heat to the air in the ro...

  • How Schlemmer’s Tee Shaped Hydronics

    Oliver Schlemmer’s fitting was the first tee capable of consciously diverting water into a radiator. In this episode, Dan Holohan shares how the O-S fitting paved the way for modern hot-water heating systems. Episode TranscriptI was looking at a photograph of Crosley Field, a grand, Cincinnati, O...

  • Your Body Is A Radiator

    ... to run a few miles on the boardwalk with Kelly, our eldest, before the seminar that morning and felt the heat pouring off me when I finished."I’m a radiator,” I said.“Don’t start, Dad,” Kelly said.“Well, I am,” I said.“Save it.”She’s crazy about me.The conference was in a big ho...

  • Heating and Horror at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin

    ... all falls apart. It's a shame.Steam once heated the place, and then later, hydronic radiant tubing beneath the stone and wood floors. I could see the radiators, but not the radiant because, as always, the tour guide wouldn't let me go down the basement. They rarely ever do.The radiators were ordi...

  • The Caretaker of Heating History

    ... anywhere I go is the heating system. I can't help it. The Lovely Marianne thinks it’s a bit of a sickness, but hey, what can you do?Doug has ancient column radiators fed with Honeywell "Unique" valves. These valves stopped my legs from moving. They stopped Bob's too. "What's wrong?" Doug asked wi...

  • The Secret to Heating Old Churches

    ... in the upper part of the building, and these currents are very objectionable.”I thought back to our church’s old Warren Webster steam system. Those radiators were hot but each radiator had a box built around it. The old church was crowded and people often stood in the aisles. Those near the rad...

  • Gold’s Mattress Radiator

    In this episode, Dan Holohan uncovers the fascinating history of Stephen Gold’s mattress radiator, the first safe and successful steam radiator for house heating. Episode TranscriptOn October 3, 1854, an industrious young man from New Haven, Connecticut filed U.S. Patent No. 11,747. Stephen J. Go...

  • Hydronic Heating for Health in 1911

    ... keep the apartments warm at all times is demanded.(b) Hot water has the decided advantage over steam by permitting better heat control at the individual radiators.(c) With the overhead system of hot-water heating, no air valves giving off their obnoxious odors, thereby vitiating the air in the room...

  • How Frank and John Taught Me To See

    ... innovative engineer. He opened my eyes to many things. He was the first person to make me see why raising steam pressure only slows the steam on its way to the radiators. He also told me about a concept called master venting, which few heating professionals were considering at the time. That, and m...

  • The World's Fair of Hydronic Heating

    Heating took center stage at the 1904 World’s Fair with the American Radiator Company’s modern home exhibit. In this episode, Dan Holohan shares how millions marveled at the beauty and simplicity of its hydronic-heating system and what became of that famous model home. Episode Transcript The so...

  • Old Buildings, New Steam

    ... there’s nothing worth stealing from the job site. This is not true with hot water heat. Hot water systems have copper pipes and copper fittings and copper radiators and brass valves and those metals make scrap collectors drool.Steam pipes, on the other hand, are made of steel, and the heating uni...

  • Remembering Mel Dubin

    ... home with something that doesn't take up a lot of space or interfere with the placement of the furniture? Convectors were replacing old-school cast-iron radiators because they were less likely to burn the kids, but convectors were more expensive to install than baseboard because they needed either...

  • Heating The Breakers

    ... in the Gilded Age. The Lovely Marianne and the daughters ogled the artwork, the furniture, the wall coverings, and of course, the view.I looked for the radiators.You probably would have done the same.I didn't spot any until near the end of the tour when we came upon this gorgeous old radiator just...

  • The Paul System and Other Delightful Discoveries

    ... and I was poking around. I really like to poke around.Editing system aside, the first thing I really noticed when I entered that loft apartment was the radiator under that window over there. It came nearly up to my waist and stared at me in that heavy, ornate, way that Victorian radiators have. ...

  • The Surprising Stories Behind Heating Inventions

    ... the building and then laces its way back and forth across each floor of the building and all the way back to the top of the kettle. The pipes are the radiators. The big pipe enters the top of the boiler through a dip tube, much like the dip tube that cold water uses to enter a water heater nowadays...

  • Trade Resolutions

    ... have kids, they can help you with this. If you don’t have kids of your own, borrow someone else’s kids for a while. Sit with them and explain how a radiator works, being sure to use terms of simple English and analogies they can understand. Turn that radiator into a story. Everyone loves a good...

  • Building a House Every Two Hours

    ... ever notice how a cat will always look for the warmest place to lay down? He’s going to find himself a sunny spot, or climb up on top of a cast-iron radiator, you know? Cats love those warm places.”“I’ve noticed that,” I said.“Well, when we needed to find the leak, we’d close all the...

  • What the 1918 Flu Taught Us About Heating During a Pandemic

     In this episode, Dan Holohan shares how the 1918-19 pandemic changed the way we pipe heating systems and the type of windows we use, why radiators are painted silver, and what we can learn from history. Episode TranscriptIn 1989, I was researching steam heating for a book that I would self-publis...

  • Thankful

    ... Life’s funny that way.The Dakota once had a steam engine in its basement. They made electricity with that engine and used the waste steam to heat the radiators. As other buildings arrived in the neighborhood, The Dakota became a co-gen plant for them. I stood in the footprint of that long-gone st...

  • The Model K Mystery

    ... episode, Dan Holohan tells about a Manhattan co-op apartment building, where the local time (mechanically speaking) is 1949, the heat is uneven, and the radiators hold a historic clue. Episode TranscriptIn a Manhattan co-op apartment building, where the local time, mechanically speaking, is 1949,...

  • Heating the Central Park Arsenal

    ... in series. These drop the steam pressure from well more than 100-psi to a just few pounds, which is the correct pressure for the building’s cast-iron radiators. The problem, though, was that it was taking two hours for steam to reach the radiators once it had passed through the PRV station, and t...

  • Bicycles and Heating History

    ... in the photo are staring straight into the camera's lens. One of the Masters is chewing the stump of a cigar. He has his big hand on a tall, cast-iron radiator. It's a beauty, and I imagine it's still in service in some old building. Radiators last a long time in America.On the right-hand side of t...

  • The First Rule of Stupidity

    ... indeed moving a bit further. Very slowly, but still moving.“There you go,” the contractor said. “We solved it.”We walked upstairs to check the radiators in the offices. They were still as cold as February in Bangor, and the employees asked us why we weren’t doing anything to get them heat...

  • Go Figure

    ... this is a two-pipe steam system,” I said. “The only condensate that trap is going to see will be the start-up condensate from the steam main. The radiator traps will take care of the condensate from the radiators. This trap at the end of the main should be 3/4 inch, not 2 inches.”“Three-qua...

  • Teddy's Lucky Day

    ... afford to have you do it right now, though.”“Sure, I’d be happy to take a look.”Teddy climbed the stairs and tried the thermostat. He felt the radiators and they were cold. He could hear the buzzing noise. It was coming from the basement. He went downstairs and saw right away that the sprin...

  • It's Not Me; It's You.

    ... hear that,” he said. “I’m going to get a second opinion.”See what I mean? It’s not him; it’s you.In 1907, Mark Honeywell patented a unique radiator valve that he called the “unique radiator valve.” Isn’t that clever? It was a way for them to compete against one-pipe steam with a h...

  • What Do Space Exploration, Beer, and Hydronic Heating Have in Common?

    ... seals. They could stand 225-degree water continuously and 250-degree water intermittently. High-temperature hydronics would allow for smaller pipes and radiators.And guess who made the ceramics? Coors. Yes, the same Coors that manufactures beer. CoorsTek engineers ceramics that are used in many ind...

  • Getting Schooled by Siggy: Anatomy of Constructing a Modern Hydronic Low Energy Facility

    ... there are several lessons to be learned from Siegenthaler, a.k.a. “Siggy”, including thermal considerations, piping, heat pump technologies, panel radiators, slab heating, controls and ECM circulators in order to provide the ultimate goals: comfort, high efficiency and a happy customer.Take a l...

  • Upgrade Your Next Job With New Press to PEX Fittings

    ... dual-vent design ensures that an upright vent port is accessible no matter which orientation the elbow is installed. Ideal for boiler risers or baseboard radiator installations, each elbow includes a brass stiffener for copper finned tube press connections. All products are certified lead free and...

  • The Anatomy of Annoying

    The tiny tale I’m about to share with you got me thinking about noisy radiators. It usually doesn’t take much to get me thinking about radiators, but this time the inspiration arrived by way of a daily email I got from Seth Godin. Seth is an author of wonderful books on marketing and I start eac...

  • What’s The Right Heat Exchanger Pressure?

    ... There are four places to connect pipe: Steam goes in one; condensate comes out another. The other two tappings are for the supply and return water for the radiators. The exchanger itself doesn’t know what to do until we bring it what it needs.“The mashed potatoes could be the size of the tube b...

  • The Wedgie Factor

    ... “It’s so comfortable here,” she said.“It is,” Erin said.“How do you do that?”Erin showed her the cast-iron baseboards. “We have panel radiators in the bedrooms,” she said, pointing upstairs. “We have five zones. There are Bluetooth TRVs on the third-floor panels.”“Excuse me?...

  • Keep It Simple

    ... looked at the pages and then flipped them again with the same result.I put the book down and talked about where the air vent belongs on a one-pipe-steam radiator.“What was that business with the coloring book?” a burly contractor asked me through a mouthful of donut when I asked if there were a...

  • Thieves

    ... below him, working harder than he was.”“So that’s why you want to do one-pipe steam?” I said.“Yes. Steam uses steel pipe, steel fittings, steel radiators.”“So there’s nothing worth stealing?” I said.“Exactly,” he said.So I ran a class for them and they specified one-pipe steam...

  • When Minds Close

    ... question. I get a lot of that because I’m easy to find on the internet. He wanted to know if it’s true that all manufacturers stopped making cast-iron radiators back in the 1950s when I was watching “Howdy Doody.” He heard they were no longer available and hadn’t been for a very long time...

  • AHR Expo Announces 2020 Innovation Award Winners

    ... newest addition in the already expansive Danfoss MCHE portfolio and supports our efforts to provide quality MCHE for condenser, evaporator, heat pump, radiator and reheat applications,” said Jeff Tucker, Business Development at Danfoss. “The iMCHE was developed specifically for two-circuit refr...

  • SALUS North America Unveils First Ever, Unrivaled, Five-Year Warranty for UFH Controls

    ... provides data on any particular appliance, and a range of Heating, and HVAC thermostats for traditional Hydronic/HVAC systems. Also available are smart radiator controls, smart relay, water leak detector and Shutoff Valve. Smoke alarms, PID sensor, and CO2 detector alarm are also set to join the ra...

  • Industry Gathers for Wetstock 2019

    ... for Industry Excellence).The General Society’s landmark building has a fascinating heating system with remnants of Andrew Paul’s vacuum system and radiators that date back to the 1890s. Dan Holohan led tours of the mechanical room and told guests about this unique system and how it was restored...

  • Windows

    ... came first in America. Who knew it was the double window? I also smiled to think that it was steam heating that allowed for the change. Put a big steam radiator under each drafty window and you can get rid of that extra pane of glass and heat all the fresh air that’s streaming in between the loos...

  • Dopey Decisions

    ... enter a building you probably do what I do, which is to look around to see how they heat the place. And admit it, when watching a movie, you notice the radiators and mumble, “One-pipe steam,” or “Two-pipe steam, or “That pipe’s in the wrong place.” You mumble because if you said these t...

  • Riding With The King

    ... about Mr. Gold and how he heated houses with steam.Ah, Samuel Gold! He designed the first real house-heating system. He had already designed the Gold pin radiator, and his house-heating system consisted of a sectional, cast-iron boiler, which was set within a brick chamber.The pin radiators were su...

  • SALUS Unveils New Smart TRV Control

    ... with the addition of the TRV Smart Radiant Control. This latest device enables users to precisely control their hydronic radiant panel, baseboard, or radiator to heat to the exact temperature and from wherever they may be.Suitable for both retrofits and new installs, the battery-operated Smart Cont...

  • Crank It Down?

    ... the steam from the boiler to the unit heater’s inlet. How much you’ll need will depend on the load and the size of the steam pipes.You don’t have radiators. Radiators will usually run on ounces of pressure, but if the job has air-handlers or reheat coils, you may have to crank up the pressure...

  • Why My Hair Is Brown

    ... 2016, was telling me a story about the Bosnian heating guy who was on a team doing the hydronic retrofit in her Maryland house. It came time to choose the radiators for her living room. The choice was between sleek, Euro-style baseboard or tough-guy, cast-iron baseboard.“Which one you want?” th...

  • A New-Parent Question

    ... can’t wait to find out by how much.Jodi, the brand-new parent wrote, “Anyone out there have any experience baby-proofing recessed convection steam radiators? We have a den that we want to turn into a playroom for our 6-month-old, who will be mobile soon. This sizable recessed radiator, similar...

  • What's In It For Me?

    ... those reasons is to ask questions and then to listen carefully to the answers.Find ways to talk about what’s in it for them. It’s not just a boiler, a radiator, new pipes or controls. It’s what those things will do for the people who decide to have you install them. They’re not buying what...

  • Metal Paints and Radiators

    Ever wonder why the Dead Men painted so many of those old, free-standing, steam- and hot-water radiators silver? Yeah, so did I. I did some digging and came up with a delicious story for you. It goes like this.At the turn of the 20th Century, radiators were mostly plain grey metal. Many of these wer...

  • Fear of the Unknown

    ... old advertisements from the 1950s and you’ll see what I mean. They were masters at this back then.I have a vintage ad from Ideal Boilers and American Radiators from 1924 that makes me smile. The copy reads, “Breakfast: The Zero Hour. A very intelligent observer of modern life says that many dom...

  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral Geothermal Energy Technology

    ... beautiful 138-year-old cathedral lies new cutting-edge HVAC technology. A state of the art geothermal heating and cooling system replaces its system of steam radiators and works to heat and cool the more than 76,000 square foot cathedral. Triangle Tube is a part of the large undertaking designed an...

  • Baseboard: How Much Is Too Much?

    ... gases won't condense. If there's beaucoup baseboard, though, those gases may be loving it because it's similar to those old systems that have high-volume radiators. The other guy's mistake just might work in your favor if you're smart, but watch out for that maximum run of 70 feet on any one loop....

  • All Steam Is Not Created Equal

    ... into space, you need to add an additional 970 Btu for each pound of water. Do that and the water will instantly expand 1,700 times and charge toward the radiators.But is that good steam? You know, the sort that will heat the radiators and make the people smile? Is the steam dry? Or is it wet?Did yo...

  • A Good Time to Check a Vacuum Steam System

    ... last-minute, panicky way, but it’s not the best way to deal with either system, especially when it comes to vacuum steam systems. With these systems, the radiator- and end-of-main traps are often the source of all the problems (they’ve failed in the open position), and fixing these during the w...

  • Saving History

    ... counterflow to the condensate. And the pipe in the middle was the remnants of Andrew Paul’s vacuum system, now abandoned in this building.“Please show me a radiator,” I said to Victoria. She took me into her office and I saw this gorgeous Italian Flue radiator from the 1890s. It had two hand...

  • The Right Tool for the Job

    ... 4-story row house in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. The house was originally heated by a coal-fired gravity hot water system connected to cast iron standing radiators. Many changes have been made over the years, along with several boiler replacements. We have serviced the existing 40-year-old Hydro...

  • How to Find a Good Steam Heating Contractor

    ... your comfort concerns. If it’s too hot in this room and too cold in that one, let him know. If there are gurgling or banging noises in the pipes or radiators, mention this, and ask the contractor to suggest a remedy. Don’t expect a new boiler to magically solve your system-related problems. Exp...

  • What I Learned in Germany

    ... explained that I had to put my card key in the slot in the wall just inside the door in order to make the lights work. And the heat. There’s a panel radiator over there by the window. It has a thermostatic radiator valve on it and I could adjust that myself. But that valve also had an electrical...

  • Old Houses, Old Systems

    ... the heating system trying to figure out why two boiler blocks would fail in short order. This was an old gravity hot water system with massive cast iron radiators and large 3-inch and 4-inch steel mains. There was an old riveted steel expansion tank in the attic with the overfill pipe stubbed throu...

  • The Key to Troubleshooting Hydronic Systems

    ... through the return pipes of the zones that aren't calling. This is especially true if the return drops vertically into the boiler from, say, a bedroom radiator just above. The back end of the radiator will get hot and you'll start thinking that water is flowing backwards. You'll be correct, but it'...

  • ECR Celebrated the 40th Running of the Boilermaker with Bill Rodgers

    ... was looking for a way to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary and give back to the community that had been such a big part of the company, Utica Radiator, later known as ECR International. Earle convinced his father Bob Reed, then President of Utica Radiator, to underwrite the cost of a new r...

  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics

    ... looks at the steel, shrugs, and turns it to elemental rust. There's a fancy word for that - entropy. I feel it in my old bones most mornings.Sit next to a radiator on a cold day and you'll feel The Second Law of Thermodynamics. The radiator is hotter than you are, so energy flows from it into you....

  • Jason Mangos Receives Board of Director's Award

    ... markets its products in the US and Canada. ECR has a rich history, going back nearly ninety years. In 1928, Earle C. Reed, founded two companies: Dunkirk Radiator and Utica Radiator. The companies merged in 1999 as ECR International, taking the founder’s initials as its company name....

  • Nothing But The Truth

    ... you understand steam systems?"            "Yes, but who is this?"            "I was severely burned by water coming out of a steam radiator, as was my animal. We both wound up in the hospital's burn unit."            "Both you and your animal?"           ...

  • Rebirth

    ... something brand-new, but something also filled with memory and history. And pride: American boilers.Still blushing with Victorian filigree, an American Radiator, Rococo model, tilts precariously against the edge of a large brake drum, like a senior citizen being held under an arm by an old fighter...

  • The Power of Re-piping with PEX

    ... George Fox University dormitory renovation in Newberg, Ore., school officials decided to prioritize energy savings by adding new piping to their outdated radiators. Hydro-Temp Mechanical of Wilsonville, Ore., was the contracting firm chosen for the project, and the company worked closely with Upono...

  • ADEY Introduces MagnaClean Commercial™

    ... system. It also offers a solution for the most common complaints in commercial hydronic systems, including poor system circulation, blocked system pipes and radiators, and excessive system noise....

  • Top Ten Articles of 2016

    ... Loop system hot-water heating Q&A It's the simplest method of heating with hot water. Each zone consists of a single loop made up of the pipe and the radiators. The water flows out of one radiator into the next. Here's a helpful Q&A.  2. What is the safe pressure for a hot-water-heating s...

  • ADEY® MC3+™ and MC1+™ System Treatment Formulas: Innovative Solutions that Combat Iron Oxide Sludge

    ... bottles or Rapid-Dose canisters fitted with an adaptor that delivers the formula in 20 seconds. Either delivery method treats 33 gallons, or up to 15 radiators, in a single treatment. Designed to work best in conjunction with ADEY MagnaClean magnetic filters, they can be delivered directly into a M...

  • Original Glory: Restoring an Old Firehouse

    ... Holohan’s book The Lost Art of Steam Heating and the community at HeatingHelp.com as guides. There’s a 400,000-Btu, Weil-McLain boiler hooked up to massive radiators. Christian says it works fine for now, but isn’t perfect. When he moved in, he asked the firemen if they knew what the heating...

  • Christopher Drew Appointed Chairman of AHRI

    ... parent company of multiple subsidiaries that are leading domestic manufacturers of boilers and related HVAC products and accessories (including furnaces, radiators and air conditioning systems), for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Its subsidiaries brands include Burnham by US B...

  • Taco Expands the Zone Sentry® Zone Valve Line

    ... systems. The valves can be used in a wide variety of heating and condensing cooling applications, primarily designed for use with baseboard, fan coils, radiators, convectors, air handlers, heat pumps and radiant applications. Press connections have grown in popularity with installers because they e...

  • Hydronics - A Profitable Non-Growth Business

    ... we sold tens of thousands. "How long can this go on?" I asked back then. He smiled and said, "Dan, as long as there are painters, we will continue sell radiator air vents." I also smile when I remember him, and even though he's gone, his company continues to sell plenty of those air vents.He is the...

  • It's About Time

    ... competition between plumbing and heating. They had built these two-story platforms to elevate the toilets and sinks for those doing the plumbing, and the radiators for the apprentices doing the heating. Manufacturers had donated all the equipment and the turnout for the show was great. They asked i...

  • Like Family

    ... system to the third floor bedroom suite, which previously had a window shaker and a portable electric heater.He installed a mod-con boiler, beautiful panel radiators and tough cast-iron baseboard. His guys probed into walls and snaked PEX like hydronic proctologists. Doing a retrofit in a relativel...

  • Heating in Prisons

    ... and there was also a large and very interested captive audience following my every move as we went from cell to cell, checking the temperature at the radiators. The guards moved the inmates out of our way as we explored. And it was the usual suspects causing the problems - trapped air and insuffici...

  • How to have a boiler replaced (without getting steamed)

    ... comfort concerns. If it's too hot in this room and too cold in that, let the contractor know. If there are gurgling or banging noises in the pipes or radiators, mention them, and ask the contractor to suggest a remedy. Don't expect a new boiler to magically solve your system-related problems. Expla...

  • Association People

    ... dance with life and are fun to read. If you've ever wondered how they first Determined the Heating Power of a Heating System, or the Testing of Steam Radiators, or if you ever wanted to sit in on A Short Talk on the Construction of Hot Water Radiators, I know just where you can go. And after the pr...

  • The Origin of the British Thermal Unit

    ... article had to do with ways to keep the worms from eating the hulls of wooden ships. I think he needed to focus more.James Watt was the first guy to put a radiator in a house. It was his own proper English house, of course, and the year was 1785.In 1911, The iconic Royal Liver Building, the world's...

  • Noritz Energy Star-Rated Residential Combination Boilers Efficiently Meet Plumbing, Hydronic Demands

    ... translating to a higher level of customer satisfaction. On the space heating side, the Combi accommodates a host of multiple-room applications including radiators, baseboards, low- and high-mass radiant heating (i.e. in-floor, snow melt, etc.) and air handlers. Two models are available for differen...

  • BDR Thermea acquires ECR International Acquisition approved by ECR Shareholders

    ... its products in the US, Canada and China. ECR has a rich history, going back nearly ninety years. In 1928, Earle C. Reed, founded two companies: Dunkirk Radiator and Utica Radiator. The companies merged in 1999 as ECR International, taking the founder’s initials as its company name. About BDR The...

  • The Art of Troubleshooting

    ... there was this delightful story about an unnamed Englishman who was piping what they thought of as a boiler in those days to what we would someday call a radiator. In between those two components was steel pipe, made strong.             The problem, though, was that the steam wouldn’t...

  • The Steam Niche

    ... on steam heat. We’re hoping you’ll walk around with us after the seminar and look at some of the problems they’re having.” I looked up at the radiator that was mounted on the ceiling. “Love to,” I said. The class went well. The contractor had invited his own people, as well as several o...

  • A Maryland Hydronic Retrofit

    ... our home cozy in the winter, they installed an NTI Trinity modulating-condensing gas boiler that feeds a combination of Burnham Baseray, Radson panel radiators, and a Runtal towel warmer radiator. The panel radiators contain Honeywell TheraPro TRVs. A Honeywell AQ series boiler and zone control wit...

  • Is that cheating?

    ... I'm talking about?"             "Sure. A one-pipe system."             "Well, I hate those systems. Air always gets stuck in the radiators and they keep calling us to bleed them. I hate bleeding radiators. I gotta move all that stuff out of the way. And those painted-shut conv...

  • What Many Contractors Have in Common

    ... talk go contractors about pumping away from the compression tank, I tell them that if they do it that way, they will never again have to bleed air from a radiator. And since not having to bleed air from radiators is in the contractor's best interest, most are willing to give it a try. And once they...

  • How to Paint an Old Radiator

    The homeowner was frantic in his e-mail to me because he had painted a few of his old radiators over the weekend and as soon as the heat came on they smelled carcinogenic. That’s what he said – carcinogenic. “We have a baby!” he wrote. “Can that smell hurt the baby?”I’d say that’s on...

  • How to Choose a Good Hydronic Heating/Cooling Contractor

    ... to say:Here are a few to start:1. How did you select this boiler? (Answers: If it's steam, by the installed radiation, plus some extra pickup if some radiators were removed; If it's hot-water, by doing a proper heat-loss calculation)2. I have a steam system and part of the house doesn't heat well....

  • Mean Radiant Temperature Explained

    ... flash,” Mama gasped.I showed her the thermometer. “It’s seventy degrees. You lose,” I said.“AWWWW!”“MAAAAA!”“Did you know your body is a radiator?” I asked.“You talking about my flashes?” Mama said.“No, all the time,” I said. “You’re a radiator.”“Ain’t that a K...

  • Taco Introduces Inverted Flare Zone Sentry® Zone Valves

    ... operation. Ideal for use with a wide variety of heating and cooling applications, Zone Sentry valves were designed primarily for baseboard, fan coil, radiator, convector, heat pump and radiant applications. The valves are now available in ½”, ¾”, 1”sweat or NPT and inverted flare (less fitt...

  • Fujitsu’s new Floor-Mounted Heat Pump Literature

    ... as 26 SEER. The small indoor units were developed specifically for residential and light commercial retrofit applications, ideally to replace standing radiators or any space with limited upper wall space like a kitchen or sunroom. They are less than 24” high and 30” wide. Systems are available...

  • LOCHINVAR® NAMES DECEMBER VIP CONTRACTOR PROGRAM WINNERS

    ... a complex multi-zone system. The boiler served an 80 gallon indirect water heater, multiple “hydro air” air handlers, one baseboard, one cast-iron radiator and a flat-plate heat exchanger. The KNIGHT boiler was installed in a direct-vent configuration using Stainless Z vent for air intake and e...

  • Hydronicheating

    ... calculation on the building because that’s the only way to know for sure with a hot-water boiler. If it was a steam system he would measure all the radiators. He said that he hadn’t figured the heat loss so, curious, I asked him why not. “It takes too long,” he said. “And I’m really not...

  • Invisible Tenants

    ... of years ago when Google sent me an alert about a new product that was getting a lot of attention. The product was from a just-formed company called Radiator Labs. The product at the time was an insulated sack that fit over the top of a radiator. It looked sort of like a heavy pillowcase and it wa...

  • Chatting with Ara about radiators

    ... business has gone since you left the building. There are more furnaces than boilers in America these days. And in some parts of the country, they think radiators are ugly and cart them away to the junkyard. What do you think about that? Ara: Well, it’s 1930, where I am right now and always will r...

  • Fujitsu’s new Floor-Mounted Heat Pumps Operate at Extra-low Ambients

    ... as 26 SEER. The small indoor units were developed specifically for residential and light commercial retrofit applications, ideally to replace standing radiators or any space with limited upper wall space like a kitchen or sunroom. They are less than 24” high and 30” wide. Systems are available...

  • Steam heating Dos and Don'ts for homeowners

    ... Your choice, but make sure they’re tucked-in. Keep in mind, though, that in some buildings the pipe that goes from floor to floor just might be the radiator. This is especially true in apartment buildings where the only heat in the bathroom and the kitchen comes from that bare vertical riser. Don...

  • NYC One-Pipe Steam

    ... miles per hour. As an efficient delivery system for Btus, you can't beat steam. A pound of this hot stuff will typically deliver about 980 Btus to the radiator, a pound of hot water, on the other hand, usually carries a mere 20 Btus. Steam systems are as rugged as Mosler safes; that's why there are...

  • The Last Man in America to Install Steam From Scratch

    ... This book, a reprint of the classic Hofftman Handbook, has all the sizing charts you'll ever need whether you're installing a new system or just moving a radiator. Ed puts a large main vent near the end of every main, making sure it's at least 15 inches back from the elbow and 6 to 10 inches up on...

  • Solving a steam-to-water heat-exchanger problem

    ... January morning when the thousands of strangers who live in the connected high-rise buildings were freezing and screaming. The water flowing through their radiators wouldn't get any hotter than 150-degrees, which just doesn't get the job done in January. Now, before I go any further, I have to tell...

  • Troubleshooter Rules

    ... Particularly as we move further and further into the Age of the Little Circulator. Flow is the train that heat travels on. Flow is what delivers the goods to the radiators. Without enough flow, we have cold rooms. These little circulators will deliver a moderate amount of water at a fairly high hea...

  • German heating 100 years ago

    ... for heat loss, plus a known percentage for points of the compass for wind pressure, for double- or single windows. His answer is the exact size of each radiator, as well as the supply and return pipe necessary to take care of it exactly. This comprehensive procedure evolves a pipe layout of smaller...

  • A Year's Worth of Heating History

    ... very comfortable home.On June 11, 1889, the G.M. Davis Regulator Company of Chicago, Illinois patented the Victor No. 2, an automatic air vent for steam radiators. It worked by the expansion of a composition element. It would be years before the industry produced a truly reliable air vent that didn...

  • The human body is a radiator

    ... because you are in the heating-and-cooling business. Another 100 Btuh leaves your body by convection. When air moves across you it turns your body from a radiator into a fan-coil unit. When you sit under a ceiling fan you feel cooler not because the ceiling fan changes the temperature of the surrou...

  • Do energy-management systems make sense on old steam systems?

    ... two-pipe-steam riser in an apartment building. It goes up, say, 20 stories. The steam supply is on the right; the condensate return is on the left; the radiators are the rungs of the “ladder,” and at the outlet of each radiator we have a thermostatic radiator trap. That’s typical. Okay, one d...

  • Creative Solutions

    ... figures this is going to be a snap. All he has to do is tap into the closest steam main in the basement and run a new line out to this large cast-iron radiator over there on the back wall of the new addition. So that’s what he does. And thinking like a true craftsman, he makes sure this new line,...

  • Dealing with an old two-pipe, air-vent steam system

    ... she whispers through clenched teeth. I’m seeing the problem and asking the questions to confirm what I already suspect. Thermostatic steam traps for radiators arrived in 1905. This building went up in 1901, so the builder used a two-pipe, air vent system for the first phase. The supply main is tw...

  • How Not To Size Radiators

    ... TRADE FIRST. The homeowner didn’t seem to mind. He patiently waited his turn.Finally, one of the countermen asked the guy what he wanted."I need a new radiator," the homeowner explained, producing a Polaroid photo from his shirt pocket. "Here’s a picture of what the old one looked like.""You st...

  • How do we get people in apartment buildings to save energy? (Now there's a good question!)

    ... window.”They both cringed.“She’s a New Yorker,” I said. “In New York, thermostats are made of glass.”“She would benefit from a thermostatic radiator valve,” the first guy said.“I know that and I’ve told her about them, but Aunt Lucy thinks such a marvelous valve would be a waste...

  • Icelandic Heating

    ... through heat exchangers in people’s homes. The homes have no chimneys, which you notice from the plane as you’re landing. The hot water flows to the radiators, and also to the snowmelt systems under the walkways and driveways. I asked how much all of this costs and our guide told us he pays abo...

  • How To Run Big Steam-Heating Systems Without Steam Traps

    ... two sources of steam in the supply and return lines will trap air in between. Where there is air, steam will not go, so a lot of folks wind up with cold radiators, along with high fuel bills. Having steam traps is like raising teenagers who never grow up. It’s a big job.Some years ago, Paul decid...

  • Not All Pipes Are Round

    ... square! I was in a hotel in Stockholm, Sweden when I first noticed the way the Europeans run their pipes. It was wicked cold outside and there was a panel radiator with a thermostatic radiator valve under my hotel room’s window. The TRV was locked at about 65-degrees, so I used my Swiss Army knif...

  • Sizing The New Boiler Based On The Old Boiler Is Dumb

    ... miserable. I figured those three qualities made for the perfect client. They had lots of money but couldn't find anyone who could tell them why their pipes and radiators were banging and their fuel bills were so high. I would go their homes, spot the failed steam traps or missing main vents, the ci...

  • Value Is Perception

    ... incident a few weeks back when I read a news story about a couple of heating technicians who had gone to Madonna’s digs in England to repair one of her radiators. She has those classic European panel radiators and each has its own set of valves. The techs had shut off the radiator and were draini...

  • What's the right temperature?

    ... heating system, running on three main zones. Each zone had its own circulator and day-night thermostat. Within each zone there were about six thermostatic radiator valves. We set the electric thermostats for 80-degrees F. during the day, which made the circulators run continuously. The thermostatic...

  • World-Wide Wackiness

    ... opened window, if I was lucky enough to be sitting near one, and the cover of my marble composition notebook, which I used for a fan. Heating was a steam radiator that pumped out enough heat to make me vomit (a good reason not to sit near the window). This radiator was also the place where my vicio...